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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 01/22/2020
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome editorial, fashion, art, and music photographer Olivia Bee. That’s a lot of tags and she’s earned them all in a relatively short time span. Her “origin story” is well-documented in photo circles, so we won’t go into that much, but in a career now a decade old, we discuss where those early successes have brought her, what she enjoys about photography, and what she is working on now. With clients that include Hermes, Nike, L’Oreal, Sony, and editorial assignments from Vice, Elle, the New York Times, and Complex Magazine, Bee has created a comprehensive body of commercial work while continuing to evolve the personal aesthetic that got her noticed in the first place. She is also now directing music and other videos and beginning a narrative film effort. We speak with Bee from her bucolic Oregon acreage and discuss a wide range of topics, from the evolution of her gear, including her current use of view cameras, to her self-portraiture techniques, to publishing her first book, Kids in Love, with Aperture. We also spend some time discussing her work with musicians, the different approaches to an editorial assignment with a musician, and working on album art or a portrait. Finally, Bee lets us in on her dream assignment and Allan promises to make that dream come true. Join us for this pleasant and informative conversation. Guest: Olivia Bee Lovers, 2013; from “Kids in Love” © Olivia Bee Baller, 2011; from “Kids in Love” © Olivia Bee Purple Haze, 2011; from “Enveloped in a Dream” © Olivia Bee from “Viva Las Vegas,” 2015 © Olivia Bee from “Viva Las Vegas,” 2015 © Olivia Bee Migos for Billboard, 2017 © Olivia Bee Kesha for Billboard, 2017 © Olivia Bee Larsen Thompson, 2016 © Olivia Bee Birdy for REDValentino SS16 Campaign © Olivia Bee Schiaparelli Couture © Olivia Bee Max and Opal (Barely Seventeen), 2016 © Olivia Bee Portrait of the American West, 2017 © Olivia Bee 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 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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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 03/09/2018
Are the 1990s history? Well, for today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we look back to that decade when a new aesthetic in fashion photography was born in England, and later spread to the United States and the world; a transformative style whose influence is apparent almost thirty years after its birth. First appearing in small but influential magazines such as The Face, i-D, and Blitz, and growing from a reactionary youth culture, this raw style reflected a new aesthetic, one that rejected the glam, the supermodel, and the highly stylized photos of the 1980s in favor of eclectic clothing, waifish models, a low-tech, "straight-up" photo style, and a lot of “frickin’ attitude.” For this episode, we welcome fashion photographer Michael Sanders, who is a regular contributor to Italian Elle and who shot for many of the ’90s “style bibles” mentioned above. Sanders came of age in this era and discusses the social and economic factors that lead to this new aesthetic, the cyclical nature of fashion, and the overly simplistic idea of heroin-chic. He also provides a sense of the technologies that made this movement a reality, the gear most commonly used, and the assignment process and shooting-styles embraced. Finally, Sanders offers firsthand insight into the community of photographers, stylists, and models who are associated with this movement, including David Sims, Corinne Day, Kate Moss, Melanie Ward, and the important photographer and bridge figure, Nick Knight. Join us for this interesting look back to the birth of a style and photographic movement that is still reverberating. Guest: Michael Sanders Photograph © Corinne Day, model: Kate Moss, The 3rd Summer of Love cover from “The Face.” 1990 Photograph © Michael Sanders from “Blood Simple”, “The Face.” 1997 Photograph © Michael Sanders from “Blood Simple”, “The Face.” 1997 Photograph © Michael Sanders from “Blood Simple”, “The Face.” 1997 Photograph © Michael Sanders from “Blood Simple”, “The Face.” 1997 Photograph © Michael Sanders from “Blood Simple”, “The Face.” 1997 Photograph © Michael Sanders from “Blood Simple”, “The Face.” 1997 Photograph © Michael Sanders, 2018 from “Italian Elle”, March 2018 Photograph © Michael Sanders, 2018 from “Italian Elle”, March 2018 Photograph © Michael Sanders, 2018 from “Italian Elle”, March 2018 Photograph © Michael Sanders, courtesy “Italian Elle” Allan Weitz and Michael Sanders, Photograph © 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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