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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 12/24/2020
I think most photographers have tried to document their experience during the COVID-19 shutdown, but none have done it quite like Neil Kramer. Kramer is riding out the pandemic in a two-bedroom apartment in Queens, New York, with his 86-year-old mother and his ex-wife. Did I mention that this is the apartment in which he grew up…and that he is living with his mother and his ex-wife? Kramer has become the star of his own drama and aptly describes the process of creating this series as “part art, part desperation.” Perfectly fitting. Kramer is primarily a street and portrait photographer with a healthy Instagram following and editorial or assignment gigs, but when the streets emptied in early March, he turned to his unlikely living situation for inspiration. Initially, there was humor and novelty in his images; he enlisted his “roommates” as players, and eventually as collaborators, in these one-shot dramas. As the weeks and months passed, his diaristic Instagram feed went from funny shots of faux-fights and crowded bathrooms to more introspective and isolated posts, complete with tender and insightful commentary. On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Kramer about developing this project, about “learning to take a photo when I’m not behind the camera,” about tethering, lighting, and bribing his “cast and crew” with doughnuts. Join us for this Seinfeldian chat, which might just help us keep our humor and creative spirit alive during the most difficult of situations. Guest: Neil Kramer Photograph © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 11. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 12. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 26. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 49. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 70. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 85. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 133. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 158. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 222. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 263. © Neil Kramer Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 10/24/2019
Perhaps there is one thing on which all photographers can agree: we love to photograph our pets. From amateur to professional, a simple photo of our dog, cat, or guinea pig making “that face” is almost irresistible and, based on the current exhibit at The Museum of the Dog, this fascination with photographing our pets reaches into the past for as long as the medium has existed. On this week’s episode, we welcome author and vernacular photography collector Catherine Johnson, and Alan Fausel, Executive Director and CEO of the Museum of the Dog, to discuss the current exhibit on display at this museum. Johnson began collecting archival photos of dogs as a young girl, mostly from local flea markets, but over the years has amassed a unique collection of images—snapshots, posed portraits, cabinet cards, tintypes—dating back to the 1880s. This collection was made into the 2007 book, Dogs, and is now a wonderful exhibition at the Museum of the Dog, during the inaugural year in its new home, in Midtown Manhattan. With Johnson, we discuss the origin of her collection, the distinction between vernacular and amateur photography, and what makes for a good dog photo. We also touch upon her time working for photographer Norman Parkinson and her other photography work. Mr. Fausel, who has thirty years of art-world experience as a scholar, curator, appraiser, and regular guest on the Antiques Roadshow, now heads the Museum of the Dog, which is affiliated with the American Kennel Club. With Fausel, we speak about curating this exhibit, the challenges and joys of running a multi-faceted institution with such a specific theme, and how to balance the interests of dog lovers of varying stripes. We also discuss the growing interest in vernacular photography in the art world and its hard-to-be-determined appraisal value. Join us for this interesting episode and check out the “Photos: Please do not Bend, the Catherine Johnson Collection” on display through December 29, 2019, at the Museum of the Dog. Guests: Catherine Johnson and Alan Fausel © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC, Image Courtesy AKC Museum of the Dog © Catherine Johnson LLC, Image Courtesy AKC Museum of the Dog Jason Tables and Catherine Johnson, © John Harris Alan Fausel © John Harris Allan Weitz, Catherine Johnson, and Alan Fausel © John Harris Allan and his “look-a-like” © John Harris Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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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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