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Posted 04/29/2021
It’s Macro Photo Week at the Explora blog and you’ll find many helpful articles and videos about the tools, techniques, and practitioners of macro photography. On the podcast, however, we go deeper than macro, like 1000x deeper—our conversation is with geologist, gemologist, and microscopist Nathan Renfro, of the Gemological Institute of America. Renfro is a renowned photomicrographer, and his images of the interiors of gems, with their unique inclusions and imperfect perfections, are stunning color abstractions of the natural world. With Renfro we speak about the art, craft, and science of photomicrography—using microscopes to make photos—and how he documents the inner life of a stone. Renfro got his start in gemology thanks to the collection of rocks and gems his grandfather, a miner from North Carolina, left to him. From this collection a fascination grew, ultimately taking him to GIA as a protégé of John Koivula, noted gemologist and author of the Photo Atlas of Gems series. Renfro himself has become one of the leading image makers in his field, and we discuss the tools and techniques he uses to create his work, including fiber optic lighting, focus stacking, and Differential Interference Contrast. We also discuss the surprisingly simple cameras that he uses, as well as the adapters, filters, and apps that enable his wonderful creations. We ask about the advantages that mirrorless photography holds for his craft, about the commercial and scientific applications of his work, and how traditional photography with a standard zoom lens has improved his understanding of composition and color, thus benefiting his photomicrography. Join us for this exploration deep into microverses, which are as complex and unique as any place on Earth or beyond. Guest: Nathan Renfro Photograph © Nathan Renfro Today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast was produced using Audio-Technica  microphones. Amethyst © Nathan Renfro Arkansas Quartz © Nathan Renfro Blue Diamond © Nathan Renfro Chrysoprase © Nathan Renfro New South Wales Sapphire © Nathan Renfro Greenland Diamond Trigons © Nathan Renfro Topaz © Nathan Renfro New South Wales Iris Agate © Nathan Renfro ZEISS microscope with Canon 6D DSLR © Nathan Renfro 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 10/03/2019
We welcome to the B&H Photography Podcast two photographers who have brought their talent and dedication to bear on the complex and beautiful lives that exist on the U.S.-Mexico border. Our first guest is photographer Stefan Falke, who is engaged in a 10-year portrait project called LA FRONTERA: Artists along the US-Mexico Border, which is dedicated to documenting the “influence that artists have on their community.” He has photographed more than 200 artists, writers, singers, and photographers who live on both sides of the 2,000-mile-long border. With Falke we discuss the development of this project, his style of shooting, how he met the many artists he has photographed, and the complications and joys of shooting in border towns in the U.S. and Mexico. He also discusses how he pared down his camera and lens choices for this project to just his trusty Nikon D850 and a 24-70mm lens. After a short break, we welcome photographer Monica Lozano, who is included in Falke’s project, and describes her portrait session with him in the main market, in Juarez, Mexico. We also discuss her incredible photographic series, which blend documentary and fine art styles to bring awareness to the struggle of migrants in Europe and the Americas. Lozano, a Mexican-American artist with roots in both countries, brings a compassionate yet objective depiction to a complex situation, and she even blends in a touch of humor. With Lozano, we discuss her evolution as an artist, the differing effects that stylized photos have compared to straight documentary, and the resounding need to understand the long and evolving history and culture of “la frontera.” Join us for this compelling conversation and check out the B&H Photography Podcast Facebook Group. Guests: Stefan Falke and Monica Lozano Raechel Running, Agua Prieta, Mexico, 2015© Stefan Falke Alfredo “Libre” Gutierrez, Tijuana, Mexico, 2016 © Stefan Falke Tom Kiefer, Ajo Arizona, 2017 © Stefan Falke Jellyfish, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, 2015 © Stefan Falke Monica Lozano, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, 2015 © Stefan Falke Pablo Llana, Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, 2016 © Stefan Falke from the “What Remains” series © Monica Lozano from the “What Remains” series © Monica Lozano from the “What Remains” series © Monica Lozano from the “What Remains” series © Monica Lozano from the “Borders” series © Monica Lozano from the “Borders” series © Monica Lozano from the “Borders” series © Monica Lozano from the “Hugs Not Walls” series © Monica Lozano from the “Hugs Not Walls” series © Monica Lozano Allan Weitz, Monica Lozano, and Stefan Falke © 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 11/08/2018
When we finished recording this episode, Jay Maisel asked us which podcast episode was our favorite. It didn’t take Allan a second to answer, “This one!” While we have almost one-hundred and fifty to choose from, there is no doubt that this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is very memorable. Once we turned the mics on, nobody wanted this conversation to end and, indeed, it runs longer than 80 minutes, but it is worth every minute. When listening to Jay Maisel and Stephen Wilkes talk, time doesn’t fly—it soars. The reason we have two such remarkable photographers and long-time associates on together is because this weekend, at the DOC NYC Film Festival, Wilkes is premiering his documentary about Maisel, called Jay Myself. We sat with Maisel and Wilkes to discuss the making of the film and their personal and professional relationship that has lasted for almost 40 years. At the heart of the film is Maisel’s former residence and studio, the six-story, 30,000 square-foot Germania Bank building that he bought, in 1967, and sold in 2014 for a tidy profit. This massive space, almost as legendary as Maisel himself, must be emptied before Maisel is to move, and Wilkes was there to capture this undertaking. The movie touches upon themes of mentorship, mortality, visual creativity, and the changing face of New York City, but along with the remarkable space he created, the film focuses on the life, work, and legacy of Maisel himself. It is a loving tribute from one photographer to another, one friend to another. Our conversation is filled with the type of creative insight and humor that these towering figures in contemporary photography can bring. Join us for this fascinating conversation and see the trailer of the film here. Part I, Maisel and Wilkes: 00:00- 38:40 Part II, Jay Myself and The Bank: 39:00 – 83:50 Guests: Jay Maisel and Stephen Wilkes Poster for the film, "Jay Myself"; Courtesy Mind Hive Films Stephen Wilkes and Jay Maisel in “The Bank,” 2014, Photograph Courtesy Mind Hive Films Singapore © Jay Maisel Allan Weitz with Jay Maisel and Stephen Wilkes on the B&H Photography Podcast, Photograph © John Harris Stephen Wilkes and Jay Maisel, Photograph © John Harris Stephen Wilkes, Photograph © John Harris Jay Maisel, Photograph © John Harris Stephen Wilkes and Jay Maisel, Photograph © John Harris Allan Weitz and Jay Maisel, Photograph © John Harris Stephen Wilkes and Jay Maisel, Photograph © 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 06/08/2018
Hosted by B&H Photo, the 2018 OPTIC Conference for Outdoor and Travel Photography was a wonderful opportunity to speak with a diverse group of great photographers, and we did just that. We sat down with a diverse mix of shooters, including Joyce Tenneson, Xyza Cruz Bacani, Keith Carter, and Sisse Brimberg. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will present these conversations, but today we start with National Geographic staff photographer Mark Thiessen, who, in addition to running the photo studio at NatGeo and shooting many stories for the magazine, has continued a twenty-year personal project on wildfires. To know his subject better, to be safer, and to get closer to the action, Thiessen became a certified wildland firefighter and travels to active fires each year to photograph the fires, as well as the property destruction and human toll taken by these wildfires. We speak with Thiessen about his experiences, tools and techniques for photographing fires, and about his other work for National Geographic. We also take a few minutes to catch up with Rod Clark, of Wine Country Camera. At OPTIC 2017, we spoke with Clark about the beautiful filter-holder system he developed, and now we find out how his company has grown since last year, and what Wine Country Camera has brought to the market. Guests: Mark Thiessen and Rod Clark Photograph by Mark Thiessen © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "Russian Smokejumpers" © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "Russian Smokejumpers" © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "Russian Smokejumpers" © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "Russian Smokejumpers" © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "Russian Smokejumpers" © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "The Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke" © National Geographic Photograph by Mark Thiessen, from "The Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke" © National Geographic Mark Thiessen on the B&H Photography Podcast © 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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