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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 04/22/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we focus on the work of photographer Todd Webb and, specifically, the series of images he created in Africa in 1958, while on assignment for the United Nations. We are joined by Betsy Evans Hunt, the Executive Director of the Todd Webb Archive, and by Aimée Bessire and Erin Hyde Nolan, coauthors of the new book, Todd Webb in Africa—Outside the Frame. With our guests, we discuss the photographic career of Todd Webb, including his work in New York and Paris in the 1940s and 1950s, and the founding and mission of the Todd Webb Archive. Our primary topic, however, is the rediscovery (in a steamer trunk) and eventual archiving and publishing of Webb’s photographs taken in several African nations over the course of a multi-month assignment organized by the United Nations. The images are notable not only for their fateful recovery but for their large and medium format color composition and intelligent eye; they tell a vibrant story of Africa at a moment between colonization and independence. With authors Bessire and Nolan, we discuss the making of their book, which is both a photography book of unique vision and a multifaceted study of the images themselves, with essays and interviews providing historical context and cultural and artistic analysis. Join us for this conversation on the work of an overlooked 20th-century master photographer and on a sweeping series of color photos that sat unseen for almost 60 years. Guests: Betsy Evans Hunt, Aimée Bessire, and Erin Hyde Nolan Photograph © Todd Webb Cover, “Todd Webb in Africa – Outside the Frame” © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive 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 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 10/07/2019
“A wiser feller than myself once said, ‘Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear, well, he eats you.’” A few of our listeners may recognize this quote from a certain 1998 movie but, for others, well, it may just be a confusing adage. For today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, however, we did indeed “eat the bear” and are very fortunate to welcome actor, musician, and photographer Jeff Bridges to our show. In addition to being an Academy Award-winning actor, Bridges photographs the “behind-the-scenes” making of his movies with a Widelux swing-lens panoramic film camera, and over the years has collected those images in private editions, made for the cast and crew. In 2003, he published a book called, Jeff Bridges: Pictures, and in October 2019, is releasing the incredible Jeff Bridges: Pictures Volume 2, which “expands on Bridges' intimate vision of Hollywood behind-the-scenes. Included within are rare looks at the famed actors, top directors, talented costumers, and makeup artists, skilled and creative set and art decoration, and the rest of the passionate crews involved in such memorable movies as True Grit, Crazy Heart, The Giver, TRON: Legacy, and Hell or High Water. ” With Bridges, we discuss his affinity for the Widelux, and how he handles this camera—known for its idiosyncrasies. We relate the nuts-and-bolts aspects of his workflow, from using the viewfinder (or not) to measuring exposure with a Minolta spot meter, to how he composes a frame with a 140-degree angle of view. We also discuss other wide-format cameras, how Bridges works on set with other actors and crew members, the creation of his new book, and the scope of his photographic work, which has become a unique documentation of movie-making from the 1980s until today. Join us for this lively conversation and look for Jeff Bridges: Pictures Volume 2, published by powerHouse Books and distributed by Penguin Random House. All of Bridge’s proceeds from the sale of his book go to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, a nonprofit organization that offers charitable care and support to film-industry workers. When you visit his website, check the link for No Kid Hungry, an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger and for which Bridges is the national spokesperson. Finally, if you are in the Los Angeles area on October 15, take the opportunity to have Jeff sign your copy of his book at the Book Soup event, on Sunset Blvd. Guest: Jeff Bridges Above photograph © Jeff Bridges George Clooney, Tragedia/Comedia, "The Men Who Stare at Goats," 2009 © Jeff Bridges Iron Man Suit, "Iron Man," 2008 © Jeff Bridges Stan Winston’s Workshop, "Iron Man," 2008 © Jeff Bridges Stephen Bruton, Songwriter, "Crazy Heart," 2009 © Jeff Bridges Jack Nation, "Crazy Heart," 2009 © Jeff Bridges Gary Ross, Director, and Tobey Maguire, "Seabiscuit," 2003 © Jeff Bridges Claudio Miranda and Olivia Wilde, "Tron: Legacy," 2010 © Jeff Bridges Loyd Catlett, "Seventh Son," 2014 © Jeff Bridges "Scenes of the Crime," 2001 © Jeff Bridges Jodelle Ferland, Tragedia/Comedia, "Tideland," 2005 © Jeff Bridges Jeff Bridges, "True Grit," 2010 © Jeff Bridges Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 11/29/2018
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome photographer Rick McGinnis and curator Julie Grahame, to discuss blogging and archiving. While this is certainly a broad subject, we will focus on the work of our two guests while considering how best to keep a collection of photos vibrant and valuable. Rick McGinnis is a veteran portrait, editorial, and travel photographer based in Toronto. Most of his assignments and self-assignments had been for local newspapers and magazines and, when this professional landscape changed and motivation was lacking, he almost got out of the business entirely. With a little encouragement, he began to explore the many images he had shot over the previous twenty years—some he had never even viewed—despite being gorgeous portraits of well-known musicians, actors, and artists. The result of this deep dig was a blog he simply called someoldpicturesitook. The blog proved to be an avenue not only into his past, but to his future, because images never seen were now appreciated, discussed, shared, and ultimately, licensed. McGinnis is now on to a new travel blog  and a new chapter in his career, and we will hear what he has learned along the way. Curator, consultant, and writer  Julie Grahame is the publisher of aCurator.com, a full-screen photography magazine, and the associated aCurator blog. She directed the Retna photo agency for 16 years and currently represents the estate of Yousuf Karsh for image licensing and maintains the extensive karsh.org website. We speak with Grahame about the benefits of a blog compared to a website, Instagram, or in her case, a webzine, and we discuss her relationship with the Karsh archive and insights she has drawn from licensing his iconic portraits. Throughout the humorous conversation, we consider Google search tools, tagging, preferred blogging sites, and repurposing older work, but we also touch on the personal, professional, and historical importance of valuing and maintaining your photo collection. Guests: Julie Grahame and Rick McGinnis Fela Kuti, 1989 © Rick McGinnis John Waters, 1987 © Rick McGinnis Patti Smith, 1995 © Rick McGinnis Jay McInerney, 1998 © Rick McGinnis Bjork, 1997 © Rick McGinnis Anne Hathaway, 2004 © Rick McGinnis Rebecca Hall, 2016 © Rick McGinnis Kinky Friedman, 2016 © Rick McGinnis Dwight Eisenhower, 1946 © Yousuf Karsh Ernest Hemingway, 1957 © Yousuf Karsh Winston Churchill, 1941© Yousuf Karsh Ansel Adams and Yousuf Karsh, Courtesy Yousuf Karsh Archive Rick McGinnis © John Harris Rick McGinnis and Julie Grahame © John Harris Rick McGinnis, Allan Weitz, and Julie Grahame © 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 06/15/2018
For this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we return to our conversations from the 2018 OPTIC Conference, hosted by B&H Photo. We spoke with so many wonderful photographers and will present these talks over the coming weeks but, today, we focus on the street photography of two very distinctive photographers. Our first guest is Sisse Brimberg, a veteran adventure and travel photographer who has more than thirty stories for National Geographic to her credit. Much of her work is devoted to historical and cultural stories, but our chat focuses on the informal portraiture she does in the streets, marketplaces, and country roads around the world. Brimberg relates how she is always “seeing” photographs, how she interacts with her subjects, and how to know when a photograph is worth taking. We also discuss her late husband and shooting partner, NatGeo photographer Cotton Coulson, and how her approach to work has changed since his death. After a short break, we speak with Xyza Cruz Bacani, a Magnum Foundation fellow and Fujifilm Ambassador. Born and raised in the Philippines, Bacani is based in Hong Kong, and started her street photography while employed as a domestic worker there. Her street photography blossomed into a career as a documentary photographer covering immigration, social justice, and human rights issues, but she still devotes time to “street.” We discuss the differences between the two disciplines, as well as her street photography techniques and cameras and lens choices. For street, travel, and documentary photographers, this is an episode not to be missed, and subscribe to our podcast for future conversations from OPTIC 2018, including those we had with photographers Keith Carter, Joyce Tenneson, and Seth Resnick. Guests: Sisse Brimberg and Xyza Cruz Bacani © Sisse Brimberg © Sisse Brimberg © Sisse Brimberg © Sisse Brimberg © Sisse Brimberg © Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani Sisse Brimbeg at OPTIC 2018 © John Harris Xyza Cruz Bacani at OPTIC 2018 © John Harris Previous Pause Next DON'T MISS AN EPISODE SUBSCRIBE NOW:   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 05/25/2018
What makes a photographer follow their moral compass and photograph the stories they feel need to be told, no matter what the personal costs? Furthermore, how do they do so without the support of a news outlet or even an agency to distribute that work? And then, what if they decide to shoot primarily with black-and-white film?! On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Greg Constantine, who made and continues to make these decisions. In this affable conversation, we find out what prompted Constantine to pick up a camera and how he made the subject of “statelessness” a recurring theme in his work. We also learn why he continued to shoot film, even after digital became the more affordable and accepted format, and why the more established route of assignments for news outlets was not the best path for his storytelling. We also discuss the financing of his work through a combination of grants, commissions, and out-of-pocket spending, the obstacles to exhibiting documentary photography and, ultimately, the satisfaction of seeing the positive impact his work has had. As mentioned, much of Constantine’s work documents oppressed communities, and he has lived and traveled extensively in Asia and, more recently in Europe, to follow stories of migration and persecution. Specifically, he has worked in Burma with the Rohingya people, with the Nubians in Kenya, and with communities around the world that live without the basic right of citizenship. His current project, Seven Doors, has brought him back to his home country to document stories on immigration detention. Constantine’s work ultimately did make it into well-recognized newspapers. He has published books and won awards, and his work has been exhibited in the halls of the U.S. Capitol Building, but he continues to press forward—guided not by credit lines, but by the desire to grow as a photographer, to be inspired by the people he photographs, and to tell the stories that demand to be told. Join us for this inspiring conversation. Guest: Greg Constantine Kenya, 2008, from “Nowhere People” © Greg Constantine Kuwait, 2011, from “Nowhere People” © Greg Constantine Italy, 2014, from “Nowhere People” © Greg Constantine Iraq, 2014, from “Nowhere People” © Greg Constantine Bangladesh, 2017, from “Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya” © Greg Constantine Bangladesh, 2017, from “Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya” © Greg Constantine Bangladesh, 2017, from “Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya” © Greg Constantine Bangladesh, 2017, from “Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya” © Greg Constantine United States, 2018, from “Seven Doors” © Greg Constantine United States, 2018, from “Seven Doors” © Greg Constantine United States, 2018, from “Seven Doors” © Greg Constantine Malaysia, 2017, from “Seven Doors” © Greg Constantine Greg Constantine on the B&H Photography Podcast © John Harris Allan Weitz and Greg Constantine © John Harris Previous Pause Next DON'T MISS AN EPISODE SUBSCRIBE NOW:   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 10/04/2017
Steve Simon is The Passionate Photographer, and in the short conversation we had with him at the 2017 OPTIC Conference, it became clear why. Not only does he exude a passion for photography (and for cameras) but his photographs are imbued with humanity, humor, a wonderful sense of composition, and his talent for capturing the decisive moment. Whether it is street photography, long-form documentary or his wonderful news coverage of presidential campaigns and conventions, his passion is on display. We talk with Simon about a range of subjects, including his first cameras, his popular workshops, and what motivates him to keep shooting. After a break, we return with the fifth installment of our series “Dispatch with Adriane Ohanesian.” In this segment, she recounts her harrowing story of coming under attack while photographing a story on illegal gold mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ohanesian is an award-winning photojournalist, based in Kenya, who covers humanitarian crisis and conflict in South Sudan and Somalia. On this assignment, she had hiked deep into the Okapi Wildlife Reserve with rangers returning to a gold mine that had been cleared of illegal mining, only to be attacked by militia members looking to reclaim their site. Her incredible story involves hiding overnight in a mine pit within earshot of her attackers, fleeing barefoot through the jungle, only to get lost and returned to the mine she had hoped to escape. Join us for this bracing episode, which demonstrates what passionate photographers will do to tell a story worth telling.  Click here  if you missed Episode 4 of “Dispatch.” Guests: Steve Simon and Adriane Ohanesian Photojournalist Adriane Ohanesian at work in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Previous Pause Next DON'T MISS AN EPISODE SUBSCRIBE NOW:   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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