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Posted 09/16/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome the founder and Executive Director of the Social Documentary Network, Glenn Ruga, and photographer Sofia Aldinio, who is the recipient of the 2021 ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography, presented by the Social Documentary Network. As should be clear, our conversation today revolves around the Social Documentary Network, or “SDN,” and we learn about this community of documentary photographers and its website on which more than three thousand documentary series have been uploaded and are available for viewing. Ruga tells of the evolution of the site since its 2008 inception, and how adding classes, awards, portfolio reviews, and, most important, the online and print magazine ZEKE has led to the growth of this platform, which is open to all photographers. Our chat also draws from Ruga’s photography work and thoughts on documentary, in general. In the second half of the show we speak with Aldinio, a past guest, about “Awake in the Desert Land,” her photo series that received the ZEKE prize. Aldinio tells of the circumstances that brought her to Baja California, Mexico, during 2020 and this intimate series on village communities affected by climate change. We also speak with Aldinio about her working methods, about shelving her normal Canon system for a more stealth FUJIFILM, about making relationships with subjects, and the feedback and support she received from her SDN workshop leaders. We wrap by previewing the Social Documentary Network events and exhibits at Photoville 2021 and Aldinio’s presentation on her award-winning series. Guests: Sofia Aldinio and Glenn Ruga Photograph © Sofia Aldinio The cover and two interior spreads from the upcoming Fall, 2021 issue of ZEKE Magazine. Courtesy The Social Documentary Network “The newest cemetery in San Jose de Gracia, Baja California, Mexico, January 17, 2021. The small community has at least four different cemeteries generationally identified. The town lost most of its population after Hurricane Lester in 1992, the biggest storm the community has faced in its history. Since 2006, the community has lost 60 members and has a population of 12 today. “Awake in the Desert Land” “Awake in the Desert Land” “Awake in the Desert Land” “Awake in the Desert Land” “Belonging” “Belonging” “Belonging” “Belonging” Previous Pause Next Sofia Aldinio Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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Posted 03/11/2021
This is the second episode of the B&H Photography Podcast produced with the collaboration of Leica Camera, and we are pleased to welcome photographer Stella Johnson to the show. It is the “in-between moments of life” that Johnson describes as the subject of her work, work that includes books and documentary series made in Cameroon, Greece, Nicaragua, and Mexico. In this easygoing conversation, we discuss the nature of her long-term projects, and the motivations that return her to the same places year after year. We also talk about composing with rangefinder cameras, being at the eye level of your subject, and the weeks that go by without making pictures and the verbal and nonverbal communication necessary when you are invited as a photographer into a community or home, as Johnson has been. For her personal documentary work, Johnson has relied on Leica M cameras and a 35mm focal length lens. We discuss this focal distance in terms of a personal comfort zone and one that even felt safer during pandemic time. Johnson keeps her settings simple and concentrates on composition and the moment; she tends to find light and locations that she likes and waits for the images. Because Johnson’s compositions are so strong in black-and-white and her color work is minimal and adroit, we ask for her thoughts on how to work with both formats and if a fluidity between them is easy. Finally, in searching for a definition of documentary photography, we mulled over the effect of time, of returning to locations and subjects, of its distinction from photojournalism, as seeing “what life is like” and the stories of “just daily life.” Guest: Stella Johnson Photograph © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “RE-CREATIONS” © Stella Johnson Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C. Steiner
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Posted 05/01/2019
On May 10, 2019, the 150th anniversary of the “golden spike,”—the ceremonial completion of The First Transcontinental Railroad, will be celebrated, and we at the B&H Photography Podcast are taking this opportunity to talk railroad photography. In the first half of the episode, we discuss the iconic image created by photographer A.J. Russell, at Promontory Summit, Utah, in 1869 of hundreds of workers gathered on and around two steam locomotives for this momentous occasion. We also touch upon the relationship between photography and the growth of rail travel in the United States and mention other important railroad photographers. During the second half of our show we focus on the gear, techniques, and safety protocols employed by three accomplished contemporary railroad photographers. Joining us for this episode are Scott Lothes, photographer and President and Executive Director of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art and the editor of its journal Railroad Heritage. Lothes discusses the Russell photograph and the Center’s mission, its archive, and its publications, including the recent book,  After Promontory: 150 Years of Transcontinental Railroading. We are also joined by photographers Eric Williams and Dennis Livesey. Williams is a fine art photographer who incorporates railroad and landscape photography into his work. He provides tips on workflow and shooting techniques and offers an overview of the subtle differences between the photographic styles within this subgenre. Livesey, who concentrates on urban rail transit and steam locomotives, brings his encyclopedic knowledge of railroad history and an insight on how to turn your passion into a photo project, specifically using his 2016 book, Smoke Over Steamtown, as an example. Join us for this timely and celebratory episode. To read more about railroad photography and view some exquisite train photographs, click into Todd Vorenkamp's article, 15 Tips for Better Train and Railway Photos. Guests: Scott Lothes, Eric Williams, and Dennis Livesey Above photograph © A.J. Russell, courtesy Center for Railroad Photography and Art © Eric Williams © Eric Williams © Eric Williams Erie Railroad freight train at Tuxedo, New York, October 22, 1944 © Donald W. Furler, courtesy Center for Railroad Photography & Art Cover of After Promontory, published by Indiana University Press (cover photograph by Carleton E. Watkins) Hawk’s Nest, West Virginia © Scott Lothes Pomona, Washington © Scott Lothes The Valley Railroad’s 2-8-2 Mikado bursts through the night and snow in Essex Connecticut, 2017 © Dennis A. Livesey Engineer Shane Frederickson and his son run the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad 4-6-2 Pacific No. 425 steam locomotive in Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania, 2017 © Dennis A. Livesey Central Railroad of New Jersey 0-6-0 switcher steam locomotive gets steam up in Minersville, Pennsylvania, 2018 © Dennis A. Livesey New York is exploding with construction, yet the No. 7 train just keeps rolling along. Long Island City, New York, 2017 © Dennis A. Livesey “The Champagne Photo,” celebrating the completion of The Transcontinental Railroad, May 10, 1869. Photograph by A.J. Russell, courtesy of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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