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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 10/24/2019
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 03/09/2018
Are the 1990s history? Well, for today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we look back to that decade when a new aesthetic in fashion photography was born in England, and later spread to the United States and the world; a transformative style whose influence is apparent almost thirty years after its birth. First appearing in small but influential magazines such as The Face, i-D, and Blitz, and growing from a reactionary youth culture, this raw style reflected a new aesthetic, one that rejected the glam, the supermodel, and the highly stylized photos of the 1980s in favor of eclectic clothing, waifish models, a low-tech, "straight-up" photo style, and a lot of “frickin’ attitude.” For this episode, we welcome fashion photographer Michael Sanders, who is a regular contributor to Italian Elle and who shot for many of the ’90s “style bibles” mentioned above. Sanders came of age in this era and discusses the social and economic factors that lead to this new aesthetic, the cyclical nature of fashion, and the overly simplistic idea of heroin-chic. He also provides a sense of the technologies that made this movement a reality, the gear most commonly used, and the assignment process and shooting-styles embraced. Finally, Sanders offers firsthand insight into the community of photographers, stylists, and models who are associated with this movement, including David Sims, Corinne Day, Kate Moss, Melanie Ward, and the important photographer and bridge figure, Nick Knight. Join us for this interesting look back to the birth of a style and photographic movement that is still reverberating. Guest: Michael Sanders Photograph © Corinne Day, model: Kate Moss, The 3rd Summer of Love cover from “The Face.” 1990 Photograph © Michael Sanders from “Blood Simple”, “The Face.” 1997 Photograph © Michael Sanders from “Blood Simple”, “The Face.” 1997 Photograph © Michael Sanders from “Blood Simple”, “The Face.” 1997 Photograph © Michael Sanders from “Blood Simple”, “The Face.” 1997 Photograph © Michael Sanders from “Blood Simple”, “The Face.” 1997 Photograph © Michael Sanders from “Blood Simple”, “The Face.” 1997 Photograph © Michael Sanders, 2018 from “Italian Elle”, March 2018 Photograph © Michael Sanders, 2018 from “Italian Elle”, March 2018 Photograph © Michael Sanders, 2018 from “Italian Elle”, March 2018 Photograph © Michael Sanders, courtesy “Italian Elle” Allan Weitz and Michael Sanders, Photograph © 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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