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Posted 04/29/2021
It’s Macro Photo Week at the Explora blog and you’ll find many helpful articles and videos about the tools, techniques, and practitioners of macro photography. On the podcast, however, we go deeper than macro, like 1000x deeper—our conversation is with geologist, gemologist, and microscopist Nathan Renfro, of the Gemological Institute of America. Renfro is a renowned photomicrographer, and his images of the interiors of gems, with their unique inclusions and imperfect perfections, are stunning color abstractions of the natural world. With Renfro we speak about the art, craft, and science of photomicrography—using microscopes to make photos—and how he documents the inner life of a stone. Renfro got his start in gemology thanks to the collection of rocks and gems his grandfather, a miner from North Carolina, left to him. From this collection a fascination grew, ultimately taking him to GIA as a protégé of John Koivula, noted gemologist and author of the Photo Atlas of Gems series. Renfro himself has become one of the leading image makers in his field, and we discuss the tools and techniques he uses to create his work, including fiber optic lighting, focus stacking, and Differential Interference Contrast. We also discuss the surprisingly simple cameras that he uses, as well as the adapters, filters, and apps that enable his wonderful creations. We ask about the advantages that mirrorless photography holds for his craft, about the commercial and scientific applications of his work, and how traditional photography with a standard zoom lens has improved his understanding of composition and color, thus benefiting his photomicrography. Join us for this exploration deep into microverses, which are as complex and unique as any place on Earth or beyond. Guest: Nathan Renfro Photograph © Nathan Renfro Today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast was produced using Audio-Technica  microphones. Amethyst © Nathan Renfro Arkansas Quartz © Nathan Renfro Blue Diamond © Nathan Renfro Chrysoprase © Nathan Renfro New South Wales Sapphire © Nathan Renfro Greenland Diamond Trigons © Nathan Renfro Topaz © Nathan Renfro New South Wales Iris Agate © Nathan Renfro ZEISS microscope with Canon 6D DSLR © Nathan Renfro 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 03/11/2021
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 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 02/04/2021
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 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 01/14/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, photographer Matt Price describes skate photography as the “perfect blend between studio and sports photography” and, from our engaging conversation, this idea will be made clear. Price knows of what he speaks—in addition to an acclaimed freelance career, he has been a staff photographer and editor for The Skateboard Mag and is currently Brand Director at CCS Skateshop and creates the magazine, Golden Hours Skateboarding. Price has lost more than one lens to the rigors of his craft, and we talk with him about getting close to skateboarders with a fish-eye lens, as well as other shooting and lighting techniques. We also discuss how he fell in love with skating and, at a very young age, began to submit his work to forums and, ultimately, to editors. He admits to taking his lumps from online critics for his early work, but his passion for skating and desire to improve his photo craft provided the courage and commitment to keep going and, eventually, his “energy-based” photo style caught the eye of editors and brands who sent him around the world to cover the skate scene. We discuss many topics in this easygoing conversation, from skating techniques to the business of skateboard photography to the differences between the various skate publications. We also get into the relationship between skater and photographer and how such a niche photo style has grown to influence a range of disciplines. Finally, we talk about gear choices and what has worked for Price. Starting with a Canon Rebel that he purchased with money his grandmother helped him secure, Price has worked with Hasselblad and Sony systems, but is currently back where he started, shooting with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L lens. Guest: Matt Price Photographs © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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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 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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