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Posted 03/11/2021
This is the second episode of the B&H Photography Podcast produced with the collaboration of Leica Camera, and we are pleased to welcome photographer Stella Johnson to the show. It is the “in-between moments of life” that Johnson describes as the subject of her work, work that includes books and documentary series made in Cameroon, Greece, Nicaragua, and Mexico. In this easygoing conversation, we discuss the nature of her long-term projects, and the motivations that return her to the same places year after year. We also talk about composing with rangefinder cameras, being at the eye level of your subject, and the weeks that go by without making pictures and the verbal and nonverbal communication necessary when you are invited as a photographer into a community or home, as Johnson has been. For her personal documentary work, Johnson has relied on Leica M cameras and a 35mm focal length lens. We discuss this focal distance in terms of a personal comfort zone and one that even felt safer during pandemic time. Johnson keeps her settings simple and concentrates on composition and the moment; she tends to find light and locations that she likes and waits for the images. Because Johnson’s compositions are so strong in black-and-white and her color work is minimal and adroit, we ask for her thoughts on how to work with both formats and if a fluidity between them is easy. Finally, in searching for a definition of documentary photography, we mulled over the effect of time, of returning to locations and subjects, of its distinction from photojournalism, as seeing “what life is like” and the stories of “just daily life.” Guest: Stella Johnson Photograph © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “RE-CREATIONS” © Stella Johnson 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 01/15/2020
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 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 04/10/2019
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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