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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 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 07/08/2020
Our conversation on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is with the fabulous and innovative Duane Michals. Of the many comments he made about his photography practice, a practice that has been commercially and artistically successful for almost sixty years, one that stood out was his aside that “photography has failed [him] as an art form.” The comment comes late in our conversation but refers to the idea that Michals' goal of pure expression is not accommodated by photography alone; he needs to turn to sequential narrative, to writing on photo prints, even to painting on photos to get to the expression that he wants to convey. For anyone looking for how-tos or technique tips, you’ve come to the wrong episode, but to light the path to a true artistic self-expression, Michals’ words hold much promise. We spoke with him about a range of subjects, from how a constant curiosity combined with good work habits fueled his work and success. We talk about his working-class upbringing, his youthful adventures to Texas and, later, to the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War, where he first took photos in earnest. About specific images, we asked about his “Death Comes to the Old Lady,” and he also related a story about photographing Warren Beatty in a New York hotel room. We even spoke about Canon cameras and the references he draws upon for his work, from Walt Whitman and William Blake to Pierre Bonnard and Robert Frank, but mostly we discuss his creative instincts and process, which seem to start and end with the idea, “If you already know what you’re going to do, then you’re not being creative.” Join us for this insightful conversation with a true photographic innovator. Guest: Duane Michals Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York 2nd Prize Winner – B&H Photography Podcast Leica Photo Challenge – “Work & Dance from Home” © Ajay Raina, 2020 1st Prize Winner – B&H Photography Podcast Leica Photo Challenge – “Applause” © Karles Rives 2020 Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 01/29/2020
I don’t know if we’ve ever had two photographers with such divergent styles on the same episode. It would make little sense to even have them on together, except that their individual work is exceptional, and they are married to each other. This week on the B&H Photography Podcast, we return to a format that has served us well in the past —speaking with a couple who both work in photography. We really hit the jackpot this time, with Sara Bennett and Joseph Holmes, not simply because they are interesting photographers and really nice folks but, between them, they embody a wide range of photo skills, from the technical and artistic, to the narrative and journalistic, from portraiture and art photography, to advocacy and social documentary. It’s quite an interesting situation and Holmes and Bennett, each in their own way, offer personal insight into their varied projects, and they also generously allow us a glimpse into how they work together as a couple, raising a family and supporting each other’s work. Sara Bennett’s photography, which has been published in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and the PBS/News Hour, grew from her years working as a lawyer, primarily on cases related to battered women and the wrongly convicted. Her portraiture of women in prison and transitioning from incarceration humanizes as it advocates and educates. Her books, Life After Life in Prison, The Bedroom Project, and Looking Inside: Portraits of Women Serving Life Sentences, are beautiful and simple documents that serve a higher purpose, and we talk with Bennett about her intentions and the long process to find the right women to photograph and the complications and joys of photographing in prison. With Joseph Holmes, we start the conversation with New York City—and I don’t think we ever leave. Holmes could make a great image in a dark closet, but his work has such an understanding of our city and the subjects he has chosen to photograph—“ Cooks on Breaks,” “Urban Wilderness,” “Streit’s Matzoh Factory,” and “ Tracing the Underground,” are so New York, without ever touching the boiler plate. Blending portraiture, documentary, and street photography, Holmes’s dedication to the photo series and his technical aplomb represent the best of fine-art reportage. His work is represented by Jen Bekman Gallery, and pieces are included in the permanent collection of several museums, including the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Check out his photo annuals and enjoy this wonderful conversation as much as we did. Guests: Sara Bennett and Joseph Holmes Photograph © Joseph Holmes Karen, from “The Bedroom Project,” 2017 © Sara Bennett Traci, from “The Bedroom Project,” 2017 © Sara Bennett Jennifer, from “Looking Inside,” 2018 © Sara Bennett Sahiah, from “Looking Inside,” 2019 © Sara Bennett Patrice, from “Looking Inside,” 2018 © Sara Bennett Kat, from “Looking Inside,” 2019 © Sara Bennett from “Tracing the Underground,” 2017 © Joseph Holmes from “Tracing the Underground,” 2017 © Joseph Holmes from “Streit’s,” 2015 © Joseph Holmes from “Streit’s,” 2015 © Joseph Holmes Walter, from “Custom Machinery,” 2009 © Joseph Holmes Hugo, from “Custom Machinery,” 2009 © Joseph Holmes Bridgeport Vertical Milling Machine, 2009 © Joseph Holmes Van Norman Duplex Milling Machine, 2009 © Joseph Holmes Joseph O. Holmes and Sara Bennett © Allan Weitz Allan Weitz, Joseph O. Holmes, and Sara Bennett © 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 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 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 12/06/2018
In 1958, Art Kane, already a successful art director looking to jump-start his photography career, pitched the idea of a “class photo” for Vogue magazine’s annual jazz edition. In addition to individual photographs of jazz legends, he proposed a group portrait of musicians gathered on a stoop, in Harlem. For music and photography aficionados, the photo, now commonly referred to as “A Great Day in Harlem,” is an iconic image and, on today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Jonathan Kane —Art Kane’s son and an accomplished musician and photographer in his own right—about the creation and impact of this photograph. We also discuss the new book, Art Kane. Harlem 1958- 60 th Anniversary Edition, which provides context for the image creation and never-before published outtakes. In the second half of the show, we welcome contemporary jazz photographer Clara Pereira, who is one half of the team behind the blog Jazztrail.net. Pereira speaks on the nuts and bolts of jazz photography, including tips on gear, technique, settings, and lighting. We find out that her simple approach is very effective, as she explains how to keep a low profile while shooting, the differences between working a club and a concert hall, and between performance and portrait work. Join us for this enjoyable episode and take a listen to our earlier episode on the image, “A Great Day in Hip-Hop,” which was photographed years later at the same Harlem location as Art Kane’s masterpiece. Guests: Jonathan Kane and Clara Pereira “Harlem 1958” © Art Kane Louis Armstrong, 1958 © Art Kane Jim Morrison, 1968 © Art Kane Great Day in Queens, 2018 © Jonathan Kane © Jonathan Kane Joshua Redman © Clara Pereira Pharoah Sanders © Clara Pereira Ben Goldberg © Clara Pereira Donald Harrison © Clara Pereira Francisco Mela © Clara Pereira Kidd Jordan © Clara Pereira Christian Sands © Clara Pereira Jamie Branch © Clara Pereira Jazzmeia Horn © Clara Pereira Clara Pereira © John Harris Allan Weitz and Clara Pereira © 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 11/29/2018
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 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 11/01/2018
When you think of an image from your favorite movie, what comes to mind? Is it a well-edited sequence, a dramatic crescendo, or perhaps simply a static photo, maybe even the poster art itself? If it is a static image, chances are it’s a photo taken by an on-set “still” photographer. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we discuss this craft with two photographers who make their living  as still photographers, working on location and in-studio on television and film productions alongside the camera assistants, boom operators, grips, DPs and myriad crew members, who make the movie magic. Joining us are  JoJo Whilden, a fine art and still photographer who has worked on numerous films, including Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter and television series such as Orange Is the New Black, and Homeland. Her clients include HBO, Netflix, CBS, Sony, and Killer Films. She is the 2018 recipient of The Society of Camera Operators Lifetime Achievement Award in Still Photography. Also joining us in the studio is David Giesbrecht, an editorial and still photographer with credits on The House of Cards, The Blacklist, Mr. Robot, Jessica Jones, and many other programs and films. We speak with Giesbrecht and Whilden about the specific photography skills required on-set, the working relationship within a film crew, their gear setup, and the changes that the profession has seen with the onset of digital streaming, cell phones, mirrorless cameras, social media, and the growth of the episodic television series. This is a very informative episode about a craft that is often overlooked and misunderstood. Guests: JoJo Whilden and David Giesbrecht  From “Orange is the New Black”, Photograph Courtesy JoJo Whilden From “Boardwalk Empire”, Photograph Courtesy JoJo Whilden From “Olive Kitteridge”, Photograph Courtesy JoJo Whilden From “A Late Quartet”, Photograph Courtesy JoJo Whilden From “The Fighter”, Photograph Courtesy JoJo Whilden John Turturro directing “Fading Gigolo”, Photograph Courtesy JoJo Whilden From “Jessica Jones”, Photograph Courtesy David Giesbrecht From “Jessica Jones”, Photograph Courtesy David Giesbrecht From “Luke Cage”, Photograph Courtesy David Giesbrecht From “House of Cards”, Photograph Courtesy David Giesbrecht Box art from “The Tick”, Photograph Courtesy David Giesbrecht JoJo Whilden and David Giesbrecht hamming it up in the podcast studio Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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