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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 09/02/2021
There is a vibrance, a joy, and a love for photography that one feels when speaking with Meryl Meisler. It’s also very cool that by day she was a high school art teacher in Brooklyn and, by night, dancing and photographing at legendary clubs like Studio 54. Anyway, that’s just how I see it. Of course, there’s a lot more to Meisler’s photography than just 1970s disco and 1980s Bushwick, and we talk about a wide range of subjects on this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast. Meisler’s latest book, New York PARADISE LOST Bushwick Era Disco, is a wonderful look back at two very different versions of New York. It juxtaposes images she took in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick and those in the clubs and discos of Manhattan. We speak about how photography starts conversations, and how we can feel more confident with a particular camera, whether medium format, FUJIFILM X series, or a Canon point-and-shoot. We also discuss editing and maintaining a large body of work over a period of decades, studying with Lisette Model, balancing a photography practice with a full-time job, and an upcoming exhibit of Meisler’s work to be held at the same public school at which she taught. Join us for this uplifting conversation and check out Meisler’s extended exhibition at The Center for Photography at Woodstock, through September 15, 2021. Guest: Meryl Meisler Photograph © Meryl Meisler Shirtless Man Wearing Hood and Jeans, Gates Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, June 1982 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Potassa de la Fayette Poised on Grand Piano, the Copacabana, NY, NY, February 1977 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Student Interviews 83rd Precinct Police Officers, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, June 1982 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Five Fashionable Rejects (With JudiJupiter) Studio 54, NY, NY, October 1978 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Nose Ring, Earring, Mustache and Hickey IS 291, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, April 1991 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Turban and Brooch, La Farfalle, NY, NY, June 1978 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Anklets and High Heels Hurrah, NY, NY, March 1978 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Sneakers, IS 291, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, 1984 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Magnolia Tree Gates Ave, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, May 1983 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Teacher Carrying Math Books IS 291, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, 1984 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt 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 01/14/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, photographer Matt Price describes skate photography as the “perfect blend between studio and sports photography” and, from our engaging conversation, this idea will be made clear. Price knows of what he speaks—in addition to an acclaimed freelance career, he has been a staff photographer and editor for The Skateboard Mag and is currently Brand Director at CCS Skateshop and creates the magazine, Golden Hours Skateboarding. Price has lost more than one lens to the rigors of his craft, and we talk with him about getting close to skateboarders with a fish-eye lens, as well as other shooting and lighting techniques. We also discuss how he fell in love with skating and, at a very young age, began to submit his work to forums and, ultimately, to editors. He admits to taking his lumps from online critics for his early work, but his passion for skating and desire to improve his photo craft provided the courage and commitment to keep going and, eventually, his “energy-based” photo style caught the eye of editors and brands who sent him around the world to cover the skate scene. We discuss many topics in this easygoing conversation, from skating techniques to the business of skateboard photography to the differences between the various skate publications. We also get into the relationship between skater and photographer and how such a niche photo style has grown to influence a range of disciplines. Finally, we talk about gear choices and what has worked for Price. Starting with a Canon Rebel that he purchased with money his grandmother helped him secure, Price has worked with Hasselblad and Sony systems, but is currently back where he started, shooting with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L lens. Guest: Matt Price Photographs © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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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 07/29/2020
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we present a conversation with two photographers. We start with Aaron Turner, who is also a scholar, an archivist, and the host of the podcast “Photographers of Color.” Turner stays with us as we speak later with Laylah Amatullah Barrayn about her street portraiture during the COVID-19 outbreak in New York and  the recent uprising in Minneapolis. With Turner, we talk about the genesis of The Center for Photographers of Color, which is currently located at the School of Arts at the University of Arkansas, and how it grew from a Twitter feed as an attempt to recognize and connect the many African-American photographers both currently working and of historical significance and influence. We discuss the Center and its research, exhibition, archiving goals, and overall mission to develop and maintain a community of photographers. We also chat with Turner about his personal photography and how that has evolved over the years from photojournalism to documentary to a more conceptual form integrating personal and cultural histories. After a break, we welcome Laylah Amatullah Barrayn and jump right into a conversation about her decision to return to her Brownsville, Brooklyn, neighborhood to photograph the residents during the early uncertain days of the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to an assignment on funeral directors, she created a wonderful series on the fashion and cultural statements of wearing a mask. We also speak about her work in Minneapolis during the June uprising there, and how she focused on portraiture of the residents, as opposed to the protests themselves. We also discuss technique with a FUJIFILM mirrorless system and a 35mm lens, the need to bear witness, the value of working with a community of photographers, and the “power of the archive.” Join us for this wide-ranging and passionate conversation about the importance of recognizing tradition, supporting your fellow photographers, and pushing for necessary changes within the photography sphere and the culture at large. Guests: Aaron Turner and Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Photograph © Aaron Turner Looking at Drue King, from The Black Alchemy, Vol 2 series, 2018 © Aaron Turner Untitled, from The Black Alchemy, Vol. 1 series, 2015 © Aaron Turner Great Uncle Sammie's Funeral, Marion, Arkansas, 2014 © Aaron Turner Bethel A.M.E. Church, Lansing, Arkansas, 2015 © Aaron Turner Terrence D., Dumas, Arkansas, 2015 © Aaron Turner Lougè Delcy, also known as Dapper Lou, wears a custom-designed mask near the entrance of Prospect Park, May, 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Aïssatou, from Conakry, Guinea, waits for the shuttle train at the Prospect Park station, Brooklyn, May 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Minneapolis, June, 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Minneapolis, June, 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Mutual aid networks, distributing food and supplies in north Minneapolis, June 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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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 04/10/2019
This is one of the more informative and hands-on practical episodes of the B&H Photography Podcast that we have produced in some time. Obviously, it helps if you are “practicing” car photography, but the insights provided in this episode are useful for a wide range of photo disciplines, and touch on techniques for making better images of moving objects, reflective and non-reflective products, tight interiors, and how to photograph large items in a studio or on location. For this wealth of information, we must thank photographer Nate Hassler, who joined us to talk about his extensive work photographing cars, whether for advertising, editorial, or for personal projects, a.k.a. fun. Hassler is accomplished in each of these areas, and his advertising clients include Toyota, Honda, Lexus, and Mercedes. He is also a respected motorsport photographer, with work appearing regularly in Road & Track magazine. We find out that Hassler grew up around photography, helping in his parents’ photo studio, but developed a love for cars all on his own and seems to have found the perfect career that blends his two passions. We learn a bit about the automobile advertising business, but mostly we discuss capture technique, including the rigs and gear he prefers, shooting moving vehicles, stabilization, bracketing, back-lighting, lens distortion, and post-process. This truly is an educational and entertaining episode, and check out the B&H Photography Podcast Facebook Group for an image of Hassler’s “Franken-Instax” camera that he created to make instant photos with a Schneider lens. Guest: Nate Hassler Photograph © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler “Franken-Instax” camera © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler © Nate Hassler Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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