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Posted 11/09/2021
On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we are pleased to welcome Peter Cohen and Bill Shapiro to discuss “vernacular” photography and the historical and cultural significance of snapshots and other images that fall outside the realms of fine-art and commercial photography. Peter J. Cohen is recognized as one of the country’s foremost collectors of vernacular photography and portions of his collections are now included in institutions such as Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, MFA Boston, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Morgan Library, and SFMoMA. Bill Shapiro is the former Editor-in-Chief of LIFE Magazine and the founding Editor-in-Chief of LIFE.com. He is the author of several books, including Gus & Me, a children’s book he co-wrote with Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, and What We Keep, from 2018. Shapiro is also a curator and has written about photography for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Esquire, and others, including an article for Texas Monthly, which contains images referred to in this episode. With our guests we discuss the joy of collecting old photos, of discovering themes, creating romantic stories, and of the beauty of the photograph as object. We also consider the surge of interest in vernacular photography from museums and other institutions, the marketplace distinctions among these and fine-art photos, and most important, what these images can tell us about our country and cultures. Join us for this enjoyable and insightful conversation. Guests: Peter Cohen and Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro “A Trip to the Moon,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Bottoms Up,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Girls at the Farm,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Me at the Beach,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Roof Couple,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Sheep from the Car,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “A Dangerous Woman Amongst Men,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection 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 10/14/2021
To create a “collective portrait” of any set of people is difficult, but to do so with twenty-five world-renown women artists is a monumental challenge―one that our guests have undertaken and, based on their wonderful book, Portrait of an Artist: Conversations with Trailblazing Creative Women, have accomplished. Equally as impressive is that the book’s author, Hugo Huerta Marin, weaved a personal narrative into this series of interviews and photographs he made of artists he admired, such as Yoko Ono, Cate Blanchett, Inez Van Lamsweerde, and Orlan. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Marin about this seven-year project and we also welcome the book’s editor, Anna Godfrey, of Prestel Publishing. The two discuss the selection of subjects, interview techniques, and innovative book design. We also discuss the Polaroid portraits Marin made for the book and the role photography plays in the work of several of the artists profiled. Join us for this insightful conversation on the influence of groundbreaking women artists and on the persistence and collaboration needed to build this collective portrait. If you are in New York on October 28, 2021, Marina Abramović and Hugo Huerta Marin will host an intimate conversation about creativity, identity, success, and legacy at the global launch of Portrait of an Artist: Conversations with Trailblazing Creative Women, at Fotografiska New York. Tickets are available here. Guests: Hugo Huerta Marin and Anna Godfrey Photograph: FKA twigs © Hugo Huerta Marin Agnès Varda © Hugo Huerta Marin Catherine Deneuve © Hugo Huerta Marin Charlotte Gainsbourg © Hugo Huerta Marin Carrie Mae Weems © Hugo Huerta Marin Debbie Harry © Hugo Huerta Marin FKA twigs © Hugo Huerta Marin Inez Van Lamsweerde © Hugo Huerta Marin Jenny Holzer © Hugo Huerta Marin Yoko Ono © Hugo Huerta Marin Marina Abramović © Hugo Huerta Marin Cover of “Portrait of an Artist: Conversations with Trailblazing Creative Women” by Hugo Huerta Marin © Prestel Verlag, Munich · London · New York, 2021 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 06/24/2021
This week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is produced in collaboration with Leica Camera, and we are pleased to welcome photographer and journalist Cheriss May to the program. One of the qualities needed to tell good stories is an ability to listen and, in conversation with May, it becomes clear that her skill for framing and capturing an image with her camera begins with her skill for listening and for engaging with people and their stories. As a freelance editorial and portrait photographer, these talents are continuously in use, whether the story she is telling has been assigned to her by an editor or is one she is pursuing and photographing of her own accord. We discuss some of May’s recent assignments with her, as well as self-assignments for The New York Times and other outlets, and how she develops stories, pitches them, and, at times, even attaches herself as the writer. We also discuss the cameras, lenses, and techniques she uses to create these series. May is also a regular photographer on the political beat in Washington, D.C. She is a White House pool photographer and was on assignment at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and she shares stories of covering that event and other major news stories of the past few years. She is also a long-time professor at Howard University and relates some of her thoughts on teaching (and learning) photography. In addition, as a former graphic designer and photographer who works in multiple genres, it should come as no surprise that she also exhibits her work, and currently has a photo series on display at the Leica Gallery Los Angeles and will be a part of the wonderful “Eyes on Main Street” exhibit in Wilson, North Carolina. We encourage you to check out her images from these series, as well as the rest of her wide range of purposeful work. Guest: Cheriss May Photograph © Cheriss May Kenneth Meeks holding his two-year-old son Mosiya's hand, watching the oldest known living survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre, Hughes Van Ellis, 100, Lessie Benningfield Randle, 106, and Viola "Mother" Fletcher, 107, go by in a horse-drawn carriage followed by descendants of the Massacre, during a march on Greenwood Avenue in Tulsa, Ok., on Friday, May 28, 2021. Photograph © Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group Ian T’senre stands on Greenwood Avenue in a moment of silence during a candlelight vigil, to remember the victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, at 10:30 p.m. on May 31, 2021, the exact day and time the first shot was fired 100 years ago. Photograph © Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group Washington D.C. Councilman Robert White, Jr., with his daughter. Photograph © Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group Parents actively show their children how to speak out and take a stand against inequality. Photograph © Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden wave from the North Portico of the White House, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Official White House Photo by Cheriss May) Natural Beauty. On exhibit — Leica Gallery Los Angeles. Photograph © Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group Sisterhood. On exhibit — Leica Gallery Los Angeles. Photograph © Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group 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 05/20/2021
Making photographs about the important social issues of our day should not be only in the hands of photojournalists working for large news organizations. Greg Constantine and Monica Lozano, our guests on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, as well as past guests of our program, distribute and exhibit their work outside the familiar “news” outlets. Both use their photographic work to address the stories of migrants, and both have spent the last two years documenting the human consequences of the United States’ ever-changing immigration policies. We welcome them back to discuss the specific work they have produced and how they disseminate their images. Monica Lozano is a respected fine art and documentary photographer who grew up in Texas and Mexico. Her work deals with issues of immigration, normally from a slightly abstracted and decontextualized, yet emotionally powerful, vantage point. For her recent series, “The Camps,” however, Lozano went directly to the refugee camps that began to appear in her hometown of Juarez, Mexico, in 2019. Her images tell the stories of the stranded asylum seekers by documenting the conditions they lived in and the community they developed. We speak with Lozano about her working process before and during the COVID pandemic. Greg Constantine, prior to joining us on a 2018 episode, had spent years in Asia documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis and other “stateless” peoples. Over the last three years, he has worked on a project about the U.S. immigration detention system. With grant funding and his own money, he has traveled the country creating a comprehensive yet personal document, taking photos and videos, and interviewing numerous detainees and their families. His work came to fruition in the journal Seven Doors, which has an online component, a print version, and exhibits in pop-up shows. We speak with Constantine about the difficulty and pride of being his own “author,” about grant writing, about using FUJIFILM and Mamiya film cameras, and about the value of giving away magazines and being a part of a larger community of image makers. Constantine and Lozano are moved by the injustices they see and have made it their lives’ work to document them and to tell the stories of those most vulnerable, and it is our pleasure to shine a light on their hard work. Guests: Monica Lozano and Greg Constantine Photograph © Greg Constantine © Greg Constantine/Seven Doors © Greg Constantine/Seven Doors © Greg Constantine/Seven Doors © Greg Constantine/Seven Doors © Greg Constantine/Seven Doors From “The Camps” series © Monica Lozano From “The Camps” series © Monica Lozano From “The Camps” series © Monica Lozano From “The Camps” series © Monica Lozano From “The Camps” series © Monica Lozano 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 02/04/2021
It’s hard to imagine a more ideal guest for a photography podcast than the wonderful Ralph Gibson. Gibson checks all the boxes—a straight-up master of the medium, a man of insights and tales, with a comprehensive understanding of photography from the nuts and bolts to the conceptual rigors. After training in the Navy, he assisted the great Dorothea Lange in the darkroom, but found his calling as an artist, staying true to his voice, and founding a publishing house for his seminal photo book, The Somnambulist, and those of many other artists, including Larry Clark, Mary Ellen Mark, and Duane Michals. On this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Gibson about Robert Frank and Dorothea Lange, about establishing a visual signature, “broken focus,” and of course, about his trusty Leica systems. We also touch on his relationship with musician and artist Lou Reed, 50mm versus 75mm lenses, deconstructing the tropes of photography, and the connections between music and photography. This was a conversation we wished could have continued for hours, and we suggest you consider one of Gibson’s bookmaking workshops or simply dig into his incredible body of work, perhaps starting with his latest book, Sacred Land: Israel Before and After Time. Join us for this wide-ranging and inspiring conversation, and as Gibson states, “I always believed that if I stayed true to my work, everything else would fall into place.” Guest: Ralph Gibson Photograph © Ralph Gibson From “The Somnambulist” © Ralph Gibson From “The Somnambulist” © Ralph Gibson “Elbow” © Ralph Gibson From “San Francisco” © Ralph Gibson “Self-portrait in VW, 1963” © Ralph Gibson Cover of “Sacred Land” © Ralph Gibson From “Sacred Land” © Ralph Gibson From “Sacred Land” © Ralph Gibson From “Sacred Land” © Ralph Gibson From “Sacred Land” © Ralph Gibson Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 12/17/2020
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 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 01/15/2020
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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