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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 04/22/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we focus on the work of photographer Todd Webb and, specifically, the series of images he created in Africa in 1958, while on assignment for the United Nations. We are joined by Betsy Evans Hunt, the Executive Director of the Todd Webb Archive, and by Aimée Bessire and Erin Hyde Nolan, coauthors of the new book, Todd Webb in Africa—Outside the Frame. With our guests, we discuss the photographic career of Todd Webb, including his work in New York and Paris in the 1940s and 1950s, and the founding and mission of the Todd Webb Archive. Our primary topic, however, is the rediscovery (in a steamer trunk) and eventual archiving and publishing of Webb’s photographs taken in several African nations over the course of a multi-month assignment organized by the United Nations. The images are notable not only for their fateful recovery but for their large and medium format color composition and intelligent eye; they tell a vibrant story of Africa at a moment between colonization and independence. With authors Bessire and Nolan, we discuss the making of their book, which is both a photography book of unique vision and a multifaceted study of the images themselves, with essays and interviews providing historical context and cultural and artistic analysis. Join us for this conversation on the work of an overlooked 20th-century master photographer and on a sweeping series of color photos that sat unseen for almost 60 years. Guests: Betsy Evans Hunt, Aimée Bessire, and Erin Hyde Nolan Photograph © Todd Webb Cover, “Todd Webb in Africa – Outside the Frame” © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive 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 10/07/2019
“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 05/08/2019
As we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day, we welcome an artist to the B&H Photography Podcast who is using her camera to examine quotidian spaces to further a conversation about the “deeply felt subjective experiences of motherhood,” particularly as they are felt in the workplace. Joining us is photographer Corinne May Botz, whose current series is entitled “Milk Factory,” and it takes lactation rooms, the spaces where working mothers go to pump breast milk, as its subject. Also joining us as guest host this week is our colleague and new mom,  Liz Groeschen, who will be celebrating her first Mother’s Day this coming Sunday. With her 4 x 5 film camera and digital medium format system, Botz has been invited into the varied spaces, some sanctioned and comfortable and others improvised and “multipurpose,” where women go several times a day to pump milk when working and away from their children. Her work engages with the mothers but, like most of her previous projects, is focused more on the often-overlooked details of the spaces we occupy, inviting the viewer to enter these rooms and gain an understanding of what they might signify to the mothers themselves and, of course, to ask us to recognize how we prioritize space for the needs of motherhood and, in turn, healthy families. We discuss the process of creating this series, how Botz interacts with the women who have invited her into their intimate spaces, and her thoughts regarding portraiture and documentation compared to fine art or “constructed” photography. We also chat about her way to maneuver a relatively large camera setup in tight quarters, finding relevant details within a space and, of course, post-processing, printing, and the Pentax 645D. While she does not consider her series to be didactic, she aspires to elevate the status of motherhood’s concerns to the highest levels of cultural dialogue and workplace policy. In an understated but precise manner, her images make very clear the need for improvement in how we treat the experience of motherhood in the workplace. The “Milk Factory” series was recently exhibited at the Baxter St. Camera Club of New York and supported by a collaboration between Baxter St. and the National YoungArts Foundation. Please join us for this engaging conversation. Guests: Corinne May Botz Above photograph © Corinne May Botz From “Milk Factory,” 2019 © Corinne May Botz From “Milk Factory,” 2019 © Corinne May Botz From “Milk Factory,” 2019 © Corinne May Botz From “Milk Factory,” 2019 © Corinne May Botz From “Bedside Manner,” 2013 © Corinne May Botz From “Parameters” © Corinne May Botz "Haunted Houses" book cover, 2010 © Corinne May Botz "The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death" book cover, 2004 © Corinne May Botz Elizabeth Groeschen and Corinne May Botz © John R. 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 04/13/2018
The “Day to Night” series that Stephen Wilkes has been working on for several years has received much-deserved attention and has grown from its New York roots to encompass locations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. These photographs, which capture a full 24-hour cycle in one frame are awe-inspiring when viewed as a whole; fascinating when analyzed in detail, and monumental when considered as a production. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes, his wife, business manager, and the behind-the-scenes producer of these incredible photographs. Our conversation is easy-going and bounces back and forth between Mr. and Ms. Wilkes, emphasizing their intertwined working relationship. With Mr. Wilkes, we speak of the genesis of the project and the influences he finds in the paintings of the Dutch Masters and the Hudson River School. We also discuss his process, which is both physically and technically demanding. He speaks of a desire to “get lost” in the moment and ultimately how his images are “a representation of his memory” from the day and place. With Ms. Wilkes, we speak of the knotty and time-consuming process of arranging a shoot that will last more than twenty-four continuous hours in some of the world’s busiest and most desolate locations. We discuss many photographs, but concentrate on two images from the “Day to Night” series to highlight their complicated productions—the first is a photograph of New York City’s Flatiron Building and, in the second half of the show, we visit a watering hole in the Serengeti Plain. To see these images, please visit our website, and, if you are in Washington D.C. prior to April 29, 2018, check out the “Day to Night” exhibit at the National Geographic Museum, and keep your eye out for the upcoming book, to be published by Taschen. Guests: Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes The Highline, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Times Square, New York City © Stephen Wilkes The Flatiron Building, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Coney Island, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Santa Monica Pier © Stephen Wilkes The Western Wall, Jerusalem © Stephen Wilkes Inauguration Day, 2013, Washington D.C. © Stephen Wilkes Yosemite National Park, California © Stephen Wilkes Serengeti National Park, Tanzania © Stephen Wilkes The Grand Canyon © Stephen Wilkes Regata Storica, Venice, Italy © Stephen Wilkes Stephen Wilkes © John Harris Bette Wilkes © John Harris Stephen and Bette Wilkes © John Harris Bette Wilkes, Allan Weitz, and Stephen Wilkes © 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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