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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 10/03/2019
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 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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