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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 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 12/18/2019
The B&H Photography Podcast wraps up 2019 expanding our minds, with the help of Swedish photographer Erik Johansson. Enabling his playful and slightly sinister imagination with a wealth of design and photographic talent, Johannsson makes images that toy with the veracity of a photo while using relatively basic photographic processes to create them. It is certainly worth viewing Johansson’s website or Instagram feed before (or while) listening to this episode to familiarize yourselves with the images we discuss and to gain a sense of his mastery of scale and narrative. Combining landscape photography, staged scenes with actors, oversized props, and the best of digital collage, Johansson creates images that seem to emanate directly from his dreamy imagination, but are undoubtedly the product of much real-world work, and he kindly takes the time to explain his process and workflow to us. A woman emerges from a shopping mall escalator to find herself in a dark forest, a man pulls a lonely country road across a field like a bed sheet, a house is tossed as verdant farmland turns into a violent tidal wave. These scenes, along with many others (and some with a decidedly MC Escher feel), have us wondering, “how does he do it?” Join us for our conversation with Johansson to find out the tools he uses (starting with his Hasselblad camera system) and the amount of time and production it takes to create each of these surrealistic vignettes. As we celebrate our 200th episode, chime in on our Facebook group with your all-time favorite episode or let us know a subject you’d like us to cover in 2020. Thanks! And have a great New Year. Guest: Erik Johansson Above photograph © Erik Johansson Above All, 2019 © Erik Johansson Just Visiting, 2019 © Erik Johansson Self-Supporting, 2017 © Erik Johansson Lifetime, 2017 © Erik Johansson Road Closed Unexpectedly, 2019 © Erik Johansson Office Escape, 2019 © Erik Johansson The Cover-Up, 2013 © Erik Johansson Let’s Leave, 2013 © Erik Johansson Daybreaker, 2018 © Erik Johansson Demand & Supply, 2017 © Erik Johansson Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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