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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 12/24/2020
I think most photographers have tried to document their experience during the COVID-19 shutdown, but none have done it quite like Neil Kramer. Kramer is riding out the pandemic in a two-bedroom apartment in Queens, New York, with his 86-year-old mother and his ex-wife. Did I mention that this is the apartment in which he grew up…and that he is living with his mother and his ex-wife? Kramer has become the star of his own drama and aptly describes the process of creating this series as “part art, part desperation.” Perfectly fitting. Kramer is primarily a street and portrait photographer with a healthy Instagram following and editorial or assignment gigs, but when the streets emptied in early March, he turned to his unlikely living situation for inspiration. Initially, there was humor and novelty in his images; he enlisted his “roommates” as players, and eventually as collaborators, in these one-shot dramas. As the weeks and months passed, his diaristic Instagram feed went from funny shots of faux-fights and crowded bathrooms to more introspective and isolated posts, complete with tender and insightful commentary. On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Kramer about developing this project, about “learning to take a photo when I’m not behind the camera,” about tethering, lighting, and bribing his “cast and crew” with doughnuts. Join us for this Seinfeldian chat, which might just help us keep our humor and creative spirit alive during the most difficult of situations. Guest: Neil Kramer Photograph © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 11. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 12. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 26. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 49. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 70. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 85. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 133. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 158. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 222. © Neil Kramer Quarantine in Queens, Day 263. © Neil Kramer Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 10/24/2019
Perhaps there is one thing on which all photographers can agree: we love to photograph our pets. From amateur to professional, a simple photo of our dog, cat, or guinea pig making “that face” is almost irresistible and, based on the current exhibit at The Museum of the Dog, this fascination with photographing our pets reaches into the past for as long as the medium has existed. On this week’s episode, we welcome author and vernacular photography collector Catherine Johnson, and Alan Fausel, Executive Director and CEO of the Museum of the Dog, to discuss the current exhibit on display at this museum. Johnson began collecting archival photos of dogs as a young girl, mostly from local flea markets, but over the years has amassed a unique collection of images—snapshots, posed portraits, cabinet cards, tintypes—dating back to the 1880s. This collection was made into the 2007 book, Dogs, and is now a wonderful exhibition at the Museum of the Dog, during the inaugural year in its new home, in Midtown Manhattan. With Johnson, we discuss the origin of her collection, the distinction between vernacular and amateur photography, and what makes for a good dog photo. We also touch upon her time working for photographer Norman Parkinson and her other photography work. Mr. Fausel, who has thirty years of art-world experience as a scholar, curator, appraiser, and regular guest on the Antiques Roadshow, now heads the Museum of the Dog, which is affiliated with the American Kennel Club. With Fausel, we speak about curating this exhibit, the challenges and joys of running a multi-faceted institution with such a specific theme, and how to balance the interests of dog lovers of varying stripes. We also discuss the growing interest in vernacular photography in the art world and its hard-to-be-determined appraisal value. Join us for this interesting episode and check out the “Photos: Please do not Bend, the Catherine Johnson Collection” on display through December 29, 2019, at the Museum of the Dog. Guests: Catherine Johnson and Alan Fausel © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC © Catherine Johnson LLC, Image Courtesy AKC Museum of the Dog © Catherine Johnson LLC, Image Courtesy AKC Museum of the Dog Jason Tables and Catherine Johnson, © John Harris Alan Fausel © John Harris Allan Weitz, Catherine Johnson, and Alan Fausel © John Harris Allan and his “look-a-like” © 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 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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