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Posted 11/09/2021
On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we are pleased to welcome Peter Cohen and Bill Shapiro to discuss “vernacular” photography and the historical and cultural significance of snapshots and other images that fall outside the realms of fine-art and commercial photography. Peter J. Cohen is recognized as one of the country’s foremost collectors of vernacular photography and portions of his collections are now included in institutions such as Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, MFA Boston, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Morgan Library, and SFMoMA. Bill Shapiro is the former Editor-in-Chief of LIFE Magazine and the founding Editor-in-Chief of LIFE.com. He is the author of several books, including Gus & Me, a children’s book he co-wrote with Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, and What We Keep, from 2018. Shapiro is also a curator and has written about photography for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Esquire, and others, including an article for Texas Monthly, which contains images referred to in this episode. With our guests we discuss the joy of collecting old photos, of discovering themes, creating romantic stories, and of the beauty of the photograph as object. We also consider the surge of interest in vernacular photography from museums and other institutions, the marketplace distinctions among these and fine-art photos, and most important, what these images can tell us about our country and cultures. Join us for this enjoyable and insightful conversation. Guests: Peter Cohen and Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro “A Trip to the Moon,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Bottoms Up,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Girls at the Farm,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Me at the Beach,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Roof Couple,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Sheep from the Car,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “A Dangerous Woman Amongst Men,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection 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 07/01/2021
Beginning with an iPhone and an “a-ha moment” in the beautiful San Francisco City Hall, photographer Arthur Drooker began a project that would last five years and take him across the United States to photograph the most impressive and interesting city halls in the nation. The project culminated with his wonderful book, City Hall: Masterpieces of American Civic Architecture, from Schiffer Publishing, and it brings him to the B&H Photography Podcast to discuss photographing architecture, civic pride, research and interviews, book publishing, zoom and tilt-shift lenses, and a host of other subjects related to his photography. Join us for this practical and insightful episode. “To me, the best city halls are not just office buildings to administer services, they also use architecture and design to express something about civic pride, civic virtue, and democratic engagement.” —Arthur Drooker Guest: Arthur Drooker Photograph © Arthur Drooker San Francisco City Hall rotunda © Arthur Drooker Buffalo City Hall council chamber © Arthur Drooker Cincinnati City Hall © Arthur Drooker Philadelphia City Hall © Arthur Drooker Detail of William Penn statue atop Philadelphia City Hall © Arthur Drooker San Jose City Hall interior reflections © Arthur Drooker “City Hall” book cover © Arthur Drooker “American Ruins” book cover © Arthur Drooker “Conventional Wisdom” book cover © Arthur Drooker “Pie Town Revisited” book cover © Arthur Drooker 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 04/01/2021
This episode was first published in January 2018. The Canon sweepstakes mentioned in the episode has long since ended and is no longer valid. For some photographers, the phrase “run and gun” has a negative connotation, but when you’re Norman Reedus, that description takes on a much cooler meaning, one that is accurate to his style and a compliment to his ability to “sense a moment.” Reedus, most recognized for his acting work on the television series, “The Walking Dead” and “Ride with Norman Reedus,” is first and always an artist: a sculptor, a director, and author of the photography books, “The Sun’s Coming Up… Like a Big Bald Head” and his latest, “Portraits from the Woods,” which is a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the making of “The Walking Dead.” Both books are available at Big Bald Gallery. With the travel demands of working on films and television, Reedus’s photography becomes a way to engage with his locations and document his adventures but, through the eyes of an artist, his work is more than just famous locales and behind-the-scenes fun. He brings a personal vision, humorous and dark, to images he captures and does so with an experimenter’s touch, using a variety of cameras and styles. We talk with Reedus about his start in photography, his stylistic approaches, gear choices, and what he has learned from his time in front of a camera that helps with his work behind one. However, with a guest like Reedus—generous with his time and tales—you let the conversation flow, and we also discuss his series “Ride,” the influence of Laurie Anderson, fan selfies, his love of horror films, and a range of other topics. While recording this episode, the Tom Waits line, “I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things,” kept popping into my head. I’m not sure this line best reflects Reedus’s work, but I am sure there is a Tom Waits line that does. This episode was a real treat for us at the B&H Photography Podcast, and we hope you feel the same in the listening. Allan Weitz and Norman Reedus, 2017 © John Harris Guest: Norman Reedus Photograph © Norman Reedus Cooks in the Kitchen with Kitten, Max Security Prison, Moscow © Norman Reedus Exercise, Max Security Prison, Moscow © Norman Reedus Tulum 2 © Norman Reedus Undecided Soldier © Norman Reedus San Diego © Norman Reedus Cover from “Portraits from the Woods,” 2020 © Norman Reedus 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 01/15/2020
Imagine the privilege of being present at the creation of one of the “wonders of the world,” and then imagine being asked to document the magnitude—and the details—of that creation. Our guest on today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast has just that privilege and that responsibility and, as he puts it, this telescope may “change the way we understand our universe.” Chris Gunn has been a NASA contract photographer for almost twenty years but, for the past ten, he has dedicated himself to the James Webb Space Telescope and documenting the construction and eventual launch of this spacecraft, which will replace the Hubble as NASA’s most powerful telescope. We speak with Gunn about all aspects of his job and, specifically, about the gorgeous medium format images he creates that are made available to the public. Gunn is responsible for documenting the construction process, which includes portraits of scientists, as well as macro shots of screws, and he relates how he has “taken the extra step” to evolve as a photographer, incorporating medium format photography and detailed setups. Gunn must be prepared to shoot any style of photo and he discusses his daily responsibilities, how his gear has evolved over time, the lighting he chooses, and his interaction with the hundreds and technicians and scientists he works with regularly. We also discuss marketing yourself as a photographer and the specific challenges that make his job like no other, including working in giant “clean rooms,” accepting that your work is immediately in the public domain, and incorporating the aesthetics from science-fiction films. Sitting in on this recording is our own member of the B&H Space Force, writer Todd Vorenkamp. Join us for this fascinating episode in which we learn about this incredible spacecraft and the work that goes into documenting its creation and check out our 2016 episode, in which we speak with the imaging scientists from the  Hubble Telescope mission. Guest: Chris Gunn Above photograph © Chris Gunn Chamber A Door © Chris Gunn/NASA Blanket Inspection © Chris Gunn/NASA Wings Deployed © Chris Gunn/NASA Lights Out Inspection © Chris Gunn/NASA Container Doors © Chris Gunn/NASA 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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Posted 09/20/2017
This week, we took our mics and questions to Photoville, the free nine-day photography festival held in in the shadow of the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge. With exhibitions held in re-purposed shipping containers and on fences throughout the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, not only does Photoville offer a variety of incredible photography series, but it integrates seamlessly into its urban home. In its sixth year, Photoville Brooklyn has grown to include evening programming, lectures, panels, and workshops. Photoville, founded and run by United Photo Industries, has expanded to seven cities with plans for three more in 2018. The wealth of visual storytelling at Photoville is impressive—in our afternoon visit we saw exhibitions from every corner of the world, touching on the important issues of our day, and passing through all photographic genres. While there, we spoke with several photographers and curators about their work, as well as Photoville co-founder Laura Roumanos. Join our conversations with Daniella Zalcman of Women Photograph on their exhibition “Insider/Outsider,” with Sergeant John Martinez of the United States Marine Corps, about the series “ Battles Won,” and with the Director of Photography of The Player’s Tribune, Nate Gordon. We also speak with Rachel Dennis and Julie Winokur, of Talking Eyes Media, about their multimedia exhibit “Newest Americans,” organized in coordination with the Center for Migration and the Global City at Rutgers University, Newark, and the VII Photo Agency. Photography festivals and workshops are a gift to photographers and non-photographers alike. Join us as we find inspiration and motivation from the incredible image-makers found at Photovilleand, if you are in New York, check out all the exhibitions and activities yourself, from September 21-24, 2017. Guests: Laura Roumanos, Daniella Zalcman, Nate Gordon, Sgt. John Martinez, and Rachel Dennis Photoville Brooklyn, with Brooklyn Bridge and downtown New York across the East River All available space at Photoville is used to exhibit photography. Interior of container exhibit, “The Blood and the Rain,” by Yael Martinez and Orlando Velazquez Allan Weitz at Photoville; photographs in background by Lynn Johnson Allan Weitz, Laura Roumanos (Co-founder and Executive Producer of Photoville), and Jason Tables Container exhibit, “Battles Won,” from United States Marine Corps Sgt. John Martinez presents his photography in the exhibit, “Battles Won.” Container exhibit, “Battles Won,” from United States Marine Corps School children visit the exhibit, “Facing Change: Documenting Detroit.” From the exhibit, “Insider/Outsider,” photograph by Yagazie Emezi From the exhibit “Insider/Outsider,” photograph by Griselda San Martin From the exhibit, “Insider/Outsider,” photograph by Annie Tritt from her project, “Transcending Self” Nate Gordon (Director of Photography, “The Player’s Tribune”) with Allan Weitz and Jason Tables New York Liberty players, photograph by Annie Flanagan/The Players' Tribune Pop Warner Football, photograph by Walter Iooss Jr./The Players' Tribune Markelle Fultz pumping gas, photograph by Sam Maller/The Players' Tribune Ricardo Lockette, photograph by Taylor Baucom/The Players Tribune “The Family Imprint,” a photo series by Nancy Borowick, is displayed on a fence in the Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO, near Photoville. Allan Weitz and Jason Tables at Photoville Brooklyn 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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