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Posted 12/17/2020
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome photographer Matthew Franklin Carter to the program. Like many photographers, Matt Carter wears a lot of hats. In his case, literally and figuratively, but his photography work blends documentary, editorial, and portrait work and reflects the place he calls home—Greenville, South Carolina. He shoots for regional and specialty magazines and does corporate work and portraits for local artists and businesses. He also assists other photographers and, of course, he has his personal projects. Family, food, fishing, hunting, drag racing, and dirt cars are depicted with humility and grace and a touch of humor. With Carter we discuss a range of topics, but keep our conversation focused on how to work comfortably in varied settings and with different communities of folk. Carter may be at home on the rivers shooting fly fishing, but he also has produced wonderful series at local car-racing tracks, a world with which he is much less familiar. We talk about these two racing projects—“Dirt” and “Glory”—and how he mingles with the drivers and crowd, as well as the gear he uses, from FUJIFILM to Mamiya, to create portraits and documentary-style images. We also discuss photographing hunting and fishing and the portrait work he does, in studio and on location, and the lighting he uses for each situation. We close on the topic of “finding your voice,” and for Carter how his latest project on local food production unites his many passions. Join us for this easygoing and informative conversation. Guest: Matthew Franklin Carter Above photograph © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Glory” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Glory” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Glory” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Glory” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Dirt” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Dirt” © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 12/03/2020
Today we welcome back to the B&H Photography Podcast  Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and friend to the show, Salwan Georges. Georges joined us four years ago to talk about his documentary project centered around the Arabic communities in Michigan, but a great deal has changed since then, and today he joins us to discuss his work covering the 2020 presidential campaigns for the Washington Post. With Georges, we dig into the nuts and bolts of navigating a presidential election in the middle of a pandemic. We talk about press pools, political rallies, booking your own airfare, and making sure your hotel room is disinfected. We also discuss getting new angles to tell stories, prime versus zoom, switching to the Sony a9 II, and using an iPhone when that’s the only option. Georges also relates his experiences working with editors, having the backs of other photographers, and his additional work covering the opioid crisis and other painful stories of our time. Join us for this insightful conversation that we recorded in the days immediately following the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. Guest: Salwan Georges Photograph © Salwan Georges Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden listen outside of the Chase Center as he speaks during the Democratic National Convention, in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday, August 20, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post President Donald J. Trump listens to a question from a reporter during a news briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at The White House, in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, September 27, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate, gives a victory speech after winning the New Hampshire Primary during Primary Night Celebration at SNHU Field House on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post President Donald J. Trump throws a hat to supporters during a “Make America Great Again Victory Rally,” in Waterford Township, Michigan on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, and his wife, Jill Biden, greet supporters with Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, outside of the Chase Center, the secondary location of the Democratic National Convention, in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday, August 20, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post The final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden appears on screens during a flight from Detroit on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Nash Ismael, 20, places his arms around his sisters Nadeen, 18, left, and Nancy, 13, as they visit the gravesite of their parents on Father's Day at White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery on Sunday, June 21, 2020, in Troy, MI. The Ismael children lost their parents within weeks to COVID-19. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 11/19/2020
On November 22 and 23, B&H will host the 2020 OPTIC All Stars Conference, with a stellar list of outdoor, travel, and adventure photographers giving online presentations and, on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we are pleased to welcome one of those photographers: Rachel Jones Ross. Ross is a landscape and night sky photographer based near Banff, in the Canadian Rockies, and our conversation with her is rife with practical tips for shooting in the mountains and with suggestions to improve your night photography. For starters, we speak with Ross about her workflow as it pertains to planning her shoots, which often require long hikes into the mountains. We discuss the apps she uses to gather information on weather, trails, and the night sky. We also ask about staying warm in subzero temperatures and find out that her most important piece of gear is her pair of  Heat Company gloves. From there we discuss basic (and not so basic) techniques for star and night sky photography, including tips on composition, focus, and focus stacking, including a handy “sharp star” filter for accurate focus. Because Ross is also a well-respected educator, we discuss transitioning to online workshops during the COVID-19 pandemic and her “Night Photography in your Pyjamas” course, and she offers a preview of her OPTIC All Stars presentation. We also discuss her go-to gear and how she decides which cameras and lenses to use for particular locations. Ross is a member of the Sony Alpha Imaging Collective, and she relates her preferences for the various Alpha series cameras and when and why she’ll decide to use a Sony 16-35mm zoom lens or a Zeiss Batis 18mm or Zeiss Loxia 21mm lens. There is a lot of solid information as well as practical tips enmeshed in a very pleasant conversation with the wonderful Rachel Jones Ross. Join us for this episode and register for the free 2020 OPTIC All Stars Conference. Guest: Rachel Jones Ross Photograph © Rachel Jones Ross Moraine Lake, 2020 © Rachel Jones Ross Mt. Assiniboine, 2020 © Rachel Jones Ross Blue Dragon Ice Cave, 2020 © Rachel Jones Ross Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park © Rachel Jones Ross Bow Lake, Jasper National Park, 2020 © Rachel Jones Ross Abraham Lake, Alberta, Canada © Rachel Jones Ross Methane bubbles at Vermillion Lake, 2019 © Rachel Jones Ross Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 11/12/2020
Eight months ago, on the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcomed four photojournalists who were covering the beginning stages of the COVID-19 crisis in New York. We discussed their fears and the stories they hoped to cover; we also discussed safety precautions, limited access to subjects, and altered workflows. It was the beginning of a new reality. On today’s episode, we welcome back two of those photographers— Desiree Rios and Sarah Blesener —for a follow-up conversation on how their work has evolved since March. We first welcome Desiree Rios, who photographs for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. We speak with Rios about her daily assignments covering the effects of the pandemic in New York, primarily in the Bronx. We talk about using her work as a support for the community, about building solidarity with the people she photographs, and about trying to tell deeper aspects of a story with daily news images. We also marvel over how attitudes about masks and PPE were so different in March. After a break, we speak with Sarah Blesener. She also works for the Times and WSJ, but thanks to a commission from the International Center for Photography and a grant from National Geographic, she was able to focus on a long-term project over these months. Specifically, she photographed her eighty-year-old landlady and how she, along with the neighborhood community she is a part of, came together to withstand the effects of the pandemic and shutdown. Blesener relates how she came to appreciate working in a less intimate and less spontaneous manner than normal, how she avoided risky assignments so as not to risk infecting her landlady, and how the project grew to involve the neighborhood and became a very optimistic story, despite the situation. This series is currently on exhibition at ICP. Join us for this topical and interesting conversation on the evolving role of photojournalism during 2020. Guests: Desiree Rios and Sarah Blesener Photograph © Sarah Blesener From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 Our Lady of Mount Carmel was open for private prayer in the Belmont neighborhood of The Bronx, New York on Sunday, May 24, 2020. © Desiree Rios for The New York Times Mercedes poses for a portrait with her daughter down the street from her apartment building in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York on June 19, 2020. Mercedes, who has no income since her husband lost his construction job due to the pandemic, is unable to receive unemployment benefits because of their immigration status. © Desiree Rios for The New York Times Residents wear face masks while sitting on the stoop of their building in the Morrisania neighborhood of The Bronx, New York on April 14, 2020. © Desiree Rios for The New York Times 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 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 12/18/2019
The B&H Photography Podcast wraps up 2019 expanding our minds, with the help of Swedish photographer Erik Johansson. Enabling his playful and slightly sinister imagination with a wealth of design and photographic talent, Johannsson makes images that toy with the veracity of a photo while using relatively basic photographic processes to create them. It is certainly worth viewing Johansson’s website or Instagram feed before (or while) listening to this episode to familiarize yourselves with the images we discuss and to gain a sense of his mastery of scale and narrative. Combining landscape photography, staged scenes with actors, oversized props, and the best of digital collage, Johansson creates images that seem to emanate directly from his dreamy imagination, but are undoubtedly the product of much real-world work, and he kindly takes the time to explain his process and workflow to us. A woman emerges from a shopping mall escalator to find herself in a dark forest, a man pulls a lonely country road across a field like a bed sheet, a house is tossed as verdant farmland turns into a violent tidal wave. These scenes, along with many others (and some with a decidedly MC Escher feel), have us wondering, “how does he do it?” Join us for our conversation with Johansson to find out the tools he uses (starting with his Hasselblad camera system) and the amount of time and production it takes to create each of these surrealistic vignettes. As we celebrate our 200th episode, chime in on our Facebook group with your all-time favorite episode or let us know a subject you’d like us to cover in 2020. Thanks! And have a great New Year. Guest: Erik Johansson Above photograph © Erik Johansson Above All, 2019 © Erik Johansson Just Visiting, 2019 © Erik Johansson Self-Supporting, 2017 © Erik Johansson Lifetime, 2017 © Erik Johansson Road Closed Unexpectedly, 2019 © Erik Johansson Office Escape, 2019 © Erik Johansson The Cover-Up, 2013 © Erik Johansson Let’s Leave, 2013 © Erik Johansson Daybreaker, 2018 © Erik Johansson Demand & Supply, 2017 © Erik Johansson Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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