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Posted 06/03/2021
Every now and again there are conversations that flow and sparkle; they seem laden with professional insights and creative gems. Our chat with photographer Mona Kuhn is one, and perhaps it’s Kuhn’s self-awareness, her quiet confidence, and an ability to articulate her motivations that make it so. There are few who will disagree that her visual stories, her portraits, nudes, landscapes, and photo essays are among the most assured in contemporary photography, and on this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast we just revel in her good humor and willingness to share process. We speak a good deal about Kuhn’s new book Mona Kuhn: Works, and how it distills twenty years of an evolving career without ever seeming like a “retrospective.” We discuss editing strategies for this and previous books, how she created her intimate series, and why the sustained connections and relationships with her subjects are, to Kuhn, the most successful results of her extremely well-regarded work. As mentioned, she is very generous with her thoughts on photography, on how she used photo techniques to avoid the “gratuitous presence of the nude” and that the human figures she photographs are used to communicate “beyond just what you see.” She also references the work of Mike Disfarmer, how the square Hasselblad format forced her to be creative when photographing the “rectangular” human body. In the second half of the program, we cover aspects of her commissioned work and the satisfaction of being spontaneous in editorial work and of exercising the “problem-solving side of your brain” in the commercial sphere. We also discuss the differences between stories told in a book compared to a gallery, how she is comfortable on a monitor using Lightroom, but her book edits need to be printed and arranged physically to cull and order into “visual sentences.” Finally, Kuhn offers a very nuanced thought on the meaning of her personal images, encouraging “a dialogue of meanings” and noting that sometimes "quiet images last longer.” Join us for this delightful chat and have a look at Kuhn’s other new book, Study, from TBW Books. Guest: Mona Kuhn Photograph © Mona Kuhn 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 05/13/2021
This week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is an old-fashioned hands-on review, but in this case, made with six hands. Allan, Jason, and I were pleased to be loaned the Leica Q2 Digital Camera and the Leica Q2 Monochrom Digital Camera, and we use our consideration of these 47MP cameras as a springboard to talk about camera grips, and point-and-shoot cameras, and value. We also talk about macro photography and cropping and about how to create black-and-white images from color files. We begin the conversation mentioning the specs and features of these two incredible cameras and each of us offers our pros and cons regarding the features we liked best and those we felt lacking. Autofocus, body design, focal length, and responsiveness are mentioned. Other Leica cameras, such as the Leica M10-P, get discussed, too, as do the practical differences between rangefinders with removable lenses and point-and-shoots. Join us for this casual chat about photography and about how each of us, with our different workflows, aesthetics, and goals, found these cameras to be versatile, yet also challenged us to create better images. Guests: Allan Weitz, Jason Tables, John Harris Photograph © John Harris © Jason Tables © Jason Tables © Jason Tables © John Harris © John Harris © John Harris Leica Q2 Monochrom Digital Camera © John Harris © Allan Weitz © Allan Weitz © Allan Weitz 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 04/22/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we focus on the work of photographer Todd Webb and, specifically, the series of images he created in Africa in 1958, while on assignment for the United Nations. We are joined by Betsy Evans Hunt, the Executive Director of the Todd Webb Archive, and by Aimée Bessire and Erin Hyde Nolan, coauthors of the new book, Todd Webb in Africa—Outside the Frame. With our guests, we discuss the photographic career of Todd Webb, including his work in New York and Paris in the 1940s and 1950s, and the founding and mission of the Todd Webb Archive. Our primary topic, however, is the rediscovery (in a steamer trunk) and eventual archiving and publishing of Webb’s photographs taken in several African nations over the course of a multi-month assignment organized by the United Nations. The images are notable not only for their fateful recovery but for their large and medium format color composition and intelligent eye; they tell a vibrant story of Africa at a moment between colonization and independence. With authors Bessire and Nolan, we discuss the making of their book, which is both a photography book of unique vision and a multifaceted study of the images themselves, with essays and interviews providing historical context and cultural and artistic analysis. Join us for this conversation on the work of an overlooked 20th-century master photographer and on a sweeping series of color photos that sat unseen for almost 60 years. Guests: Betsy Evans Hunt, Aimée Bessire, and Erin Hyde Nolan Photograph © Todd Webb Cover, “Todd Webb in Africa – Outside the Frame” © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive 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 04/01/2021
This episode was first published in January 2018. The Canon sweepstakes mentioned in the episode has long since ended and is no longer valid. For some photographers, the phrase “run and gun” has a negative connotation, but when you’re Norman Reedus, that description takes on a much cooler meaning, one that is accurate to his style and a compliment to his ability to “sense a moment.” Reedus, most recognized for his acting work on the television series, “The Walking Dead” and “Ride with Norman Reedus,” is first and always an artist: a sculptor, a director, and author of the photography books, “The Sun’s Coming Up… Like a Big Bald Head” and his latest, “Portraits from the Woods,” which is a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the making of “The Walking Dead.” Both books are available at Big Bald Gallery. With the travel demands of working on films and television, Reedus’s photography becomes a way to engage with his locations and document his adventures but, through the eyes of an artist, his work is more than just famous locales and behind-the-scenes fun. He brings a personal vision, humorous and dark, to images he captures and does so with an experimenter’s touch, using a variety of cameras and styles. We talk with Reedus about his start in photography, his stylistic approaches, gear choices, and what he has learned from his time in front of a camera that helps with his work behind one. However, with a guest like Reedus—generous with his time and tales—you let the conversation flow, and we also discuss his series “Ride,” the influence of Laurie Anderson, fan selfies, his love of horror films, and a range of other topics. While recording this episode, the Tom Waits line, “I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things,” kept popping into my head. I’m not sure this line best reflects Reedus’s work, but I am sure there is a Tom Waits line that does. This episode was a real treat for us at the B&H Photography Podcast, and we hope you feel the same in the listening. Allan Weitz and Norman Reedus, 2017 © John Harris Guest: Norman Reedus Photograph © Norman Reedus Cooks in the Kitchen with Kitten, Max Security Prison, Moscow © Norman Reedus Exercise, Max Security Prison, Moscow © Norman Reedus Tulum 2 © Norman Reedus Undecided Soldier © Norman Reedus San Diego © Norman Reedus Cover from “Portraits from the Woods,” 2020 © Norman Reedus 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 03/18/2021
Eye-catching and grotesque are words not often placed together, but those accurate descriptors are part of the charm and beauty in the still life and food photography of Emma Ressel. Ressel joins us on this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast to talk about her work, which takes inspiration from, among other things, Dutch Master paintings and her own upbringing in Maine. We discuss with Ressel the evolution of her work and how she attempts to balance the genres of food photography and still life. Many of her images contain aspects of decay and death, and in her personal fine art photography, food is one way to address these topics. She also is a commercial photographer of food, wine, and still life work commissioned by New York Magazine, Refinery29, and other publications and clients. Ressel works with both a 4 x 5" Toya medium format film camera and with a Nikon DSLR, and we find out how and why she chooses which system to utilize. We also talk about her varied lighting choices and how she came to food photography not knowing much about professional workflows and food stylists and how that may have helped her define her look. She is very hands-on with her work, and we discuss sourcing items as diverse as coral snakes and pig’s heads. We also consider issues of waste and overconsumption and how her work attempts to deal with those ideas within an industry that uses food for purposes not directly related to human sustenance. Ressel also tells us about an inspiring artists residency in which she tackled the subject of a decaying whale carcass. This is a very well-rounded conversation, at ease discussing the technical issues of using a view camera as easily as literary inspiration, and how to walk the fine line between working as a commercial food photographer and pushing the genre to uncomfortable new places. Join us for a listen and have a look at Ressel’s Artfare page to see her larger prints. Guest: Emma Ressel Photograph © Emma Ressel From “Trouble in the Garden” © Emma Ressel From “Trouble in the Garden” © Emma Ressel From “Trouble in the Garden” © Emma Ressel From “Olives in the Street” © Emma Ressel From “Olives in the Street” © Emma Ressel From “Olives in the Street” © Emma Ressel From “Insatiable Hunger and the Peacock’s Plume” © Emma Ressel Commission for New York Magazine © Emma Ressel Commission for Wines of Sicily/Refinery29 © Emma Ressel © Emma Ressel 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 02/25/2021
Live event and concert photography have, obviously, been drastically impacted by the global pandemic and related shutdowns. Let’s give a shout-out to all the photographers, musicians, technicians, and crew who have struggled with the loss of that part of their income and craft, but also make time on the B&H Photography Podcast to talk about concert photography as we inch toward a hopeful return to live music and art performances. Today’s guest is Christie Goodwin, a premier concert and music photographer. She has been the tour photographer for the likes of Taylor Swift and Usher and has shot in venues around the world. She is also the house photographer for the famed Royal Albert Hall, in London. Her work is impeccable, and a quick glance at her website features some of the most recognized faces in contemporary music today. With Goodwin we speak on a range of topics, including her goals as a concert photographer based on the needs of the artist, the management team, the venue, or the fans. We also talk about life on tour, the trust necessary to work with musicians, shooting techniques learned from experience, and how she lets a concert “speak to her” as she decides her photographic approach. We also talk briefly about her Canon DSLR cameras and lenses, and about her side hustle, creating conceptual images for book covers, and how this primarily mirrorless endeavor is the yin to her concert photography yang. Join us for this insightful and practical conversation. Guest: Christie Goodwin Photograph © Christie Goodwin Celine Dion, Hyde Park, London, 2019 © Christie Goodwin Dream Theater, Wembley Arena, London, 2014 © Christie Goodwin Iggy Pop, Royal Albert Hall, London, 2016 © Christie Goodwin Marillion, Royal Albert Hall, London, 2017 © Christie Goodwin James Taylor backstage at Royal Albert Hall, London, 2014 © Christie Goodwin Sting backstage at Royal Albert Hall, London, 2015 © Christie Goodwin Photograph © Christie Goodwin Photograph © Christie Goodwin Photograph © Christie Goodwin Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 02/11/2021
When we started the B&H Photography Podcast more than six years ago, the concept was “watercooler conversations” with photographers, about gear. Well, honestly, it hasn’t always turned out that way, but this episode with famed photojournalist David Burnett comes as close to that idea as any we have done; there’s barely an edit in the whole episode. Burnett joins us, and we just talk. We begin with his coverage of the recent presidential inauguration and his decision to use a 1930 Graflex 4 x 5 camera in addition to his Sony mirrorless with an FE 100-400mm lens. Burnett reflects on the reasons he incorporates vintage cameras and lenses into his workflow and the need to challenge your own point of view as a photographer. We discuss the motivations that bring a particular camera to his eye and his sense of “obligation to all that has come before.” In the second half of the show, we talk about using legacy glass on mirrorless cameras and the relentless (and at times “goofy”) experimentation that both Burnett (and Allan) enjoy. From aerial reconnaissance lenses to old Kodak cine lenses, there is nothing that can’t be adapted, and we go into the weeds to discuss some of the many, many lenses Burnett has not just tried, but used successfully for his professional assignments. We also ask about the new Sony Alpha 1, the benefits of customizable functions, and his preference for the Sony a9 II and a6600 cameras. Join us for this easy-going conversation. Guest: David Burnett Photograph © David Burnett A soldier with a letter from home, Lang Vei, Vietnam, 1971 © 2020 David Burnett/Contact Press Images Bob Marley, 1976 © 2020 David Burnett/Contact Press Images Al Gore on the presidential campaign trail, 2001 © David Burnett/ Contact Press Images John Kerry in the last days of the presidential campaign, Manchester, New Hampshire, 2004 © David Burnett /Contact Press Images Daniel Céspedes arrested by the Chilean military, 1973 © 2020 David Burnett/Contact Press Images Ayatollah Khomeini, spiritual leader of the Iran Revolution, 1979 © 2020 David Burnett/Contact Press Images Mary Decker looks on in pain after colliding with Zola Budd and falling during the 3000-meter race at the 1984 Olympics, in Los Angeles © 2020 David Burnett/Contact Press Images Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 01/28/2021
Photography has long been used as a tool to explore and analyze history, but in the hands of an artist, that same tool is not asked to be exacting or accurate to the historical record. If anything, artists challenge this idea of photography as fact. And for this reason, it is such a pleasure to welcome artist and photographer Barbara Mensch to the B&H Photography Podcast. Mensch has created a book of history by using photographs she took as an artist. Having lived in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge for many years, she photographed the bridge in varied light and perspective, but it was not until she ventured inside the bridge's anchorage that she become interested in using her photographic story as the basis for a researched and nuanced study of the three principle creators of the Brooklyn Bridge. The book, In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators, is the successful result of her work, and we talk with Mensch about reevaluating older work, the endurance needed to complete a long project, the ability of photography to tell stories, and about square format and Hasselblad. In the second half of the program, we take up Mensch’s current book project, which also re-addresses earlier work, in this case from her wonderful series on the workers of the South Street Seaport or, as it was then called, the “waterfront.” Here we discuss the intrapersonal skills needed to photograph in authentic, yet potentially dangerous situations, the creative and youthful zeal that fuels such projects, and even about Bergger photography paper. Join us for this engaging conversation. Guest: Barbara Mensch Photographs © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch Klebber’s Murder © Barbara Mensch Child in Shoe Bin, Lower East Side © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 01/21/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome Malike Sidibe to the show. With just 23 years under his belt, Sidibe has accomplished a great deal in his relatively short time on planet Earth, and not just photographically. But 2020 has been quite a busy year, even for him. His photography has generally been in the realm of editorial, fashion, and personal projects, and he has a lengthy list of clients that include Time, The Atlantic, Nikon, Nike, and The New Yorker, but this year he created a bold body of work covering the Black Lives Matter marches in New York and made a name for himself with editors shooting portraits via Zoom and FaceTime. We talk with Sidibe about how he has been able to move back and forth between these various genres of photography, concentrating the first part of the show on his experiences covering protests in Brooklyn and how his emotions brought him to the street, but his photographer’s spirit and eye enabled him to capture some of the most arresting images of the summer. We discuss shooting style, the Nikon Z 7 and lens choices, keeping gear secure, and staying safe in the midst of chaos. In addition, we talk about his process in portrait shoots through FaceTime, the iPad he used, and the tools he sent to his models and subjects for these unique collaborations. We also discuss Sidibe’s personal story of immigrating to the United States at age 13, his early struggles in school, and how NYC SALT, a high school photography program, helped him on his journey. It’s easy to recognize the talent, time, and work that Sidibe is dedicating to “making the future me happy,” but his good humor and creative love for photography are evident in this informative and lively conversation. Join us. Guest: Malike Sidibe Photograph © Malike Sidibe From “Black Lives Matter” series © Malike Sidibe From “Black Lives Matter” series © Malike Sidibe From “Black Lives Matter” series © Malike Sidibe From “Mami Wata” series © Malike Sidibe From “Mami Wata” series © Malike Sidibe From “Mami Wata” series © Malike Sidibe From “Mami Wata” series © Malike Sidibe From “facetime” series © Malike Sidibe From “facetime” series © Malike Sidibe Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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