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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 07/15/2021
On this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we are thrilled to help celebrate the first anniversary of Black Women Photographers. Founded in July 2020 by Polly Irungu, the mission of Black Women Photographers is to “disrupt the notion that it is difficult to discover and commission Black creatives.” And toward that goal, BWP is now a global organization of more than 600 members, and as an online directory, has become a home for Black women and non-binary photographers to receive proper recognition and, most importantly, to get hired. We welcome Polly Irungu to discuss the founding of BWP, and to talk about the challenges and joys of running an organization that has blossomed so quickly, and about the successes of the past year and goals for the future. On that note, Irungu thrills us by announcing new grants available to photographers. We are also joined by photographer Dawn Bangi, who received her first professional assignment—with the New York Times, no less—through Black Women Photographers. We ask Bangi how she became familiar with BWP and about the assignment she received. We also discuss her other work, the Nikon and Mamiya gear she uses, and the influence of Gordon Parks. Join us for this inspiring episode and discover some of the great work found at Black Women Photographers. Guests: Polly Irungu and Dawn Bangi Photograph © Polly Irungu © Polly Irungu © Polly Irungu © Polly Irungu Courtesy of Polly Irungu/Black Women Photographers © Dawn Bangi/New York Times From the “Davin and Davis series” © Dawn Bangi From the “Davin and Davis series” © Dawn Bangi From the “Davin and Davis series” © Dawn Bangi 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 01/28/2021
Photography has long been used as a tool to explore and analyze history, but in the hands of an artist, that same tool is not asked to be exacting or accurate to the historical record. If anything, artists challenge this idea of photography as fact. And for this reason, it is such a pleasure to welcome artist and photographer Barbara Mensch to the B&H Photography Podcast. Mensch has created a book of history by using photographs she took as an artist. Having lived in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge for many years, she photographed the bridge in varied light and perspective, but it was not until she ventured inside the bridge's anchorage that she become interested in using her photographic story as the basis for a researched and nuanced study of the three principle creators of the Brooklyn Bridge. The book, In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators, is the successful result of her work, and we talk with Mensch about reevaluating older work, the endurance needed to complete a long project, the ability of photography to tell stories, and about square format and Hasselblad. In the second half of the program, we take up Mensch’s current book project, which also re-addresses earlier work, in this case from her wonderful series on the workers of the South Street Seaport or, as it was then called, the “waterfront.” Here we discuss the intrapersonal skills needed to photograph in authentic, yet potentially dangerous situations, the creative and youthful zeal that fuels such projects, and even about Bergger photography paper. Join us for this engaging conversation. Guest: Barbara Mensch Photographs © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch Klebber’s Murder © Barbara Mensch Child in Shoe Bin, Lower East Side © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch 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 06/15/2018
For this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we return to our conversations from the 2018 OPTIC Conference, hosted by B&H Photo. We spoke with so many wonderful photographers and will present these talks over the coming weeks but, today, we focus on the street photography of two very distinctive photographers. Our first guest is Sisse Brimberg, a veteran adventure and travel photographer who has more than thirty stories for National Geographic to her credit. Much of her work is devoted to historical and cultural stories, but our chat focuses on the informal portraiture she does in the streets, marketplaces, and country roads around the world. Brimberg relates how she is always “seeing” photographs, how she interacts with her subjects, and how to know when a photograph is worth taking. We also discuss her late husband and shooting partner, NatGeo photographer Cotton Coulson, and how her approach to work has changed since his death. After a short break, we speak with Xyza Cruz Bacani, a Magnum Foundation fellow and Fujifilm Ambassador. Born and raised in the Philippines, Bacani is based in Hong Kong, and started her street photography while employed as a domestic worker there. Her street photography blossomed into a career as a documentary photographer covering immigration, social justice, and human rights issues, but she still devotes time to “street.” We discuss the differences between the two disciplines, as well as her street photography techniques and cameras and lens choices. For street, travel, and documentary photographers, this is an episode not to be missed, and subscribe to our podcast for future conversations from OPTIC 2018, including those we had with photographers Keith Carter, Joyce Tenneson, and Seth Resnick. Guests: Sisse Brimberg and Xyza Cruz Bacani © Sisse Brimberg © Sisse Brimberg © Sisse Brimberg © Sisse Brimberg © Sisse Brimberg © Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani © Xyza Cruz Bacani Sisse Brimbeg at OPTIC 2018 © John Harris Xyza Cruz Bacani at OPTIC 2018 © 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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Posted 05/25/2018
What makes a photographer follow their moral compass and photograph the stories they feel need to be told, no matter what the personal costs? Furthermore, how do they do so without the support of a news outlet or even an agency to distribute that work? And then, what if they decide to shoot primarily with black-and-white film?! On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Greg Constantine, who made and continues to make these decisions. In this affable conversation, we find out what prompted Constantine to pick up a camera and how he made the subject of “statelessness” a recurring theme in his work. We also learn why he continued to shoot film, even after digital became the more affordable and accepted format, and why the more established route of assignments for news outlets was not the best path for his storytelling. We also discuss the financing of his work through a combination of grants, commissions, and out-of-pocket spending, the obstacles to exhibiting documentary photography and, ultimately, the satisfaction of seeing the positive impact his work has had. As mentioned, much of Constantine’s work documents oppressed communities, and he has lived and traveled extensively in Asia and, more recently in Europe, to follow stories of migration and persecution. Specifically, he has worked in Burma with the Rohingya people, with the Nubians in Kenya, and with communities around the world that live without the basic right of citizenship. His current project, Seven Doors, has brought him back to his home country to document stories on immigration detention. Constantine’s work ultimately did make it into well-recognized newspapers. He has published books and won awards, and his work has been exhibited in the halls of the U.S. Capitol Building, but he continues to press forward—guided not by credit lines, but by the desire to grow as a photographer, to be inspired by the people he photographs, and to tell the stories that demand to be told. Join us for this inspiring conversation. Guest: Greg Constantine Kenya, 2008, from “Nowhere People” © Greg Constantine Kuwait, 2011, from “Nowhere People” © Greg Constantine Italy, 2014, from “Nowhere People” © Greg Constantine Iraq, 2014, from “Nowhere People” © Greg Constantine Bangladesh, 2017, from “Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya” © Greg Constantine Bangladesh, 2017, from “Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya” © Greg Constantine Bangladesh, 2017, from “Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya” © Greg Constantine Bangladesh, 2017, from “Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya” © Greg Constantine United States, 2018, from “Seven Doors” © Greg Constantine United States, 2018, from “Seven Doors” © Greg Constantine United States, 2018, from “Seven Doors” © Greg Constantine Malaysia, 2017, from “Seven Doors” © Greg Constantine Greg Constantine on the B&H Photography Podcast © John Harris Allan Weitz and Greg Constantine © 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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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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Posted 10/04/2017
Steve Simon is The Passionate Photographer, and in the short conversation we had with him at the 2017 OPTIC Conference, it became clear why. Not only does he exude a passion for photography (and for cameras) but his photographs are imbued with humanity, humor, a wonderful sense of composition, and his talent for capturing the decisive moment. Whether it is street photography, long-form documentary or his wonderful news coverage of presidential campaigns and conventions, his passion is on display. We talk with Simon about a range of subjects, including his first cameras, his popular workshops, and what motivates him to keep shooting. After a break, we return with the fifth installment of our series “Dispatch with Adriane Ohanesian.” In this segment, she recounts her harrowing story of coming under attack while photographing a story on illegal gold mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ohanesian is an award-winning photojournalist, based in Kenya, who covers humanitarian crisis and conflict in South Sudan and Somalia. On this assignment, she had hiked deep into the Okapi Wildlife Reserve with rangers returning to a gold mine that had been cleared of illegal mining, only to be attacked by militia members looking to reclaim their site. Her incredible story involves hiding overnight in a mine pit within earshot of her attackers, fleeing barefoot through the jungle, only to get lost and returned to the mine she had hoped to escape. Join us for this bracing episode, which demonstrates what passionate photographers will do to tell a story worth telling.  Click here  if you missed Episode 4 of “Dispatch.” Guests: Steve Simon and Adriane Ohanesian Photojournalist Adriane Ohanesian at work in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon Photograph © Steve Simon 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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