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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 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 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 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 11/26/2020
What a treat to welcome photographer Ami Vitale to the B&H Photography Podcast. Vitale is mustering her high profile as a National Geographic photographer, as well as the talents of eighty-nine other incredible photographers, to raise funds for Conservation International. The Prints for Nature Sale runs until December 10, 2020 and offers gorgeous gallery-quality prints at a very affordable price. Please check this link for more information and to support this worthy initiative. We also speak with Vitale about her career trajectory and commitment to telling the stories of endangered species and the humans around them. We discuss her work photographing Sudan, the last male white rhinoceros in existence, and her incredible series about pandas in China. We also ask Vitale how she bridges the gap (or perceived gap) between journalism and advocacy photography and about her commitment to long-term engagement with the stories she covers. Vitale also addresses the changing dynamics of print journalism and the need to find funding for her projects, and we briefly mention her work as a Nikon ambassador. The dearth of tourism to many protected wildlife parks around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic has brought conservation efforts to a crisis point and the Prints for Nature Sale, with images by Art Wolfe, Steve Winter, Pete McBride, Alison Wright (all past guests of the podcast) and many other great photographers, is a way that lovers of wildlife and of photography can help. Guest: Ami Vitale Photograph © Ami Vitale Photograph © Ami Vitale Photograph © Ami Vitale Photograph © Ami Vitale Photograph © Ami Vitale Photograph © Anand Varma, from the Prints for Nature Sale Photograph © David Doubilet, from the Prints for Nature Sale Photograph © Jody MacDonald, from the Prints for Nature Sale Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 11/05/2020
Our guest on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is Sam Hurd. While he is primarily a wedding photographer, I have no doubt that he could photograph anything and make it look interesting. Hurd is also a portrait photographer, he dabbles in landscape work, and is a passionate photo educator. A few minutes listening to this episode and it becomes clear that he can articulate his process as well as he can execute it. He offers “deconstructions” of his images for his Patreon followers and teaches his style, technique, and gear, but today we focus on his “side hustles,” on the methods and platforms he uses to engage with clients and make extra money from the wedding photography he is already doing. We start by discussing his Patreon platform and how he uses his wedding photography images and insights to build a following of “patrons,” who pay monthly subscriptions to follow his tutorials. We then jump to Stocksy, and how his well-curated set of stock images, mostly taken at weddings, creates an additional revenue flow. He also speaks of DVLOP, which is a site that markets presets that he has created while processing his wedding work. Of course, each of these ancillary platforms flows into and out of each other not only to gain him clients but to improve his photography. He mentions several times how the challenge of producing interesting tutorials has forced him to be more inventive. Despite a very simple kit when shooting weddings, Hurd is also a self-described gearhead, and he and Allan bond over their love for vintage glass and discuss recent purchases, including the Hasselblad 907X 50C  and the Canon R6. Finally, we touch on Hurd’s first professional gig, as the staff photographer for the National Press Club, some of the famous faces he photographed, and the odd but practical practice techniques he developed to practice his portraiture. Join us for this very informative episode. Guest: Sam Hurd Photograph © Sam Hurd © Sam Hurd Photography © Sam Hurd Photography © Sam Hurd Photography © Sam Hurd Photography © Sam Hurd Photography © Sam Hurd Photography © Sam Hurd Photography © Sam Hurd Photography George Clooney at the National Press Club © Sam Hurd Photography Mariska Hargitay at the National Press Club © Sam Hurd Photography Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 10/22/2020
In the 1970s, under the aegis of the Great Society’s Model Cities Program, photographer Earlie Hudnall, Jr. began to document the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Houston’s 3rd, 4th, and 5th wards, and for more than forty years he has continued to create an indelible portrait of life in these neighborhoods. To be sure, Hudnall has photographed all around the world, and worked for years as the photographer for Texas Southern University, but it is his images of the people of Houston that we discuss today, and that are included in his current exhibition at the Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery in Dallas, running through October 31, 2020. On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we talk with Hudnall about the relationship between the stories he tells with his images and those he grew up with in his native Mississippi; how the tradition, culture, and community of his youth reveal themselves in the faces and facades of modern Houston. We also talk about his organic approach to photography and how respect for his subjects informs his process, and how eye contact and body language are tools to connect with people on the street. Hudnall is old school—he works with digital cameras when needed—but his Hasselblad and Nikon film cameras are his primary tools and he discusses why he chooses one over the other to make a particular image. Hudnall also prints his photographs, so we talk about sourcing supplies, Ilford paper, and darkroom techniques. And while we do get into camera talk and a “sweet, sweet, sweet, soft Rolleiflex,” much of our conversation with Hudnall focuses on how memory and inspiration react in a moment to create a powerful image and how staying sensitive to your surroundings will serve your imaging. It is a joy to listen to Hudnall; please join us for this conversation. Guest: Earlie Hudnall, Jr. Photograph © Earlie Hudnall, Jr. Mr. Shine, 3rd Ward, Houston, 1988 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Girl with Flag, 3rd Ward, Houston, 1991 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Hip Hop, Galveston, TX, 1993 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Looking Out, 3rd Ward, Houston, TX, 1991 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Feeling the Spirit, 3rd Ward, Houston, TX, 1987 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Boy Eastern Star, 3rd Ward, Houston, TX, 1984, © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, T Roots, 1997 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 03/11/2020
It’s easy to admire Sebastian Meyer, not simply because he’s a talented photographer who also co-founded the first photojournalism agency in Iraq, but because he is confident enough to speak of his shortcomings, his naiveté, and of tragedy. On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome Meyer to discuss his “love at first sight” for photojournalism, the Metrography photo agency he opened in Iraqi Kurdistan, and how he lost a colleague and friend to the violence of the war against ISIS. We also laugh a bunch during this episode and talk about being an “arrogant white guy,” how research can create preconceived ideas, the tropes of war photography, a bit about gear, and about the conditional nature of journalistic standards and freedom of the press. After a short break, we learn of Meyer’s involvement in a prolonged hostage situation, his return to photojournalism, and how his new book, Under Every Yard of Sky, is not only a beautiful chronicle of modern Iraqi Kurdistan, in war and in peace, but is also a tribute to a friend taken too soon. Join us for this wonderful conversation that touches on so many important issues of the contemporary documentary and photojournalism. Guest: Sebastian Meyer Manchester, United Kingdom 2005. Photograph © Sebastian Meyer Manchester, United Kingdom 2005. Photograph © Sebastian Meyer cover of Under Every Yard of Sky by Sebastian Meyer, 2019 from Under Every Yard of Sky, Photograph © Sebastian Meyer from Under Every Yard of Sky, Photograph © Sebastian Meyer from Under Every Yard of Sky, Photograph © Sebastian Meyer from Under Every Yard of Sky, Photograph © Sebastian Meyer from Under Every Yard of Sky, Photograph © Sebastian Meyer from Under Every Yard of Sky, Photograph © Sebastian Meyer from Under Every Yard of Sky, Photograph © Sebastian Meyer Friends and family of Kamaran grieve after hearing the news of his death, 2014. Photograph © Sebastian Meyer Sebastian and Kamaran, Photograph courtesy Sebastian Meyer Allan Weitz and Sebastian Meyer, 2020. Photograph © John Harris Sebastian Meyer on the B&H Photography Podcast, 2020. Photograph © 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 02/12/2020
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome intellectual property attorney David Deal back to the program to discuss issues regarding copyright infringement, particularly as they involve three high-profile cases in which he is involved. Deal spoke with us last year about a case he had just litigated, Brammer vs Violent Hues Productions, in which he successfully argued to reverse a lower court’s decision, thus protecting his client’s photograph from copyright infringement. While it was a relatively small case, the decision carried positive ramifications for photographers and should stand as precedent going forward. Deal provides a summary of why that case is so important to photographers. He also brings us up to speed on a high-profile case in which he represents many possible heirs to the copyright of Vivian Maier’s photo catalogue. On the second half of our show, we will speak with Deal about the current case in which he is involved, regarding the estate of noted rural portrait photographer Mike Disfarmer  1884–1959). This conversation will serve as an introduction to a serial segment we will record with David Deal over the coming months about the Disfarmer images. Disfarmer’s work is well known and sought after in the art world, but the question remains as to who are the rightful heirs of his work and whether they have been properly compensated. Because his images have been reproduced and sold for many years by various vendors, the case is complicated, and Deal walks us through the issues surrounding this fascinating photographer and case, which involves heroes and villains from small-town Arkansas to big-city New York. Keep your eyes (and ears) open for the future segments of this series as Deal and his team work through the many layers of research and legal briefs, hopefully to sort out the legal entanglements and set the record straight. Guest: David Deal Photograph © Mike Disfarmer All photos in this carousel © Mike Disfarmer Previous Pause Next Mike Disfarmer Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 01/08/2020
During a little holiday trip, producer John Harris made a visit to the gallery and studio of photographer Clyde Butcher. For anyone who grew up in Florida, Butcher’s work should be very familiar; his photography is often found on the walls of local libraries, municipal buildings, and, as Miami native Jason Tables points out, “every doctor’s office I’ve ever been in.” Butcher’s images of the Florida landscapes, particularly of the Everglades, are legendary, and although he has a brisk print-sales business, many of the photos in libraries have the attached placard, “Donated by Clyde Butcher.” Although he is known primarily for his large format black-and-white photography of “the swamp,” Butcher’s photographic career extends back many decades and includes architectural photography, mountain and western landscapes, filmed documentaries, and decorative color photography. Interestingly, Butcher began his career selling prints at small art fairs and, in the 1970s, he had a thriving business selling thousands of prints through department stores such as Sears and Montgomery Ward. This episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is a casual conversation that glides through several topics, including Butcher’s work with large format cameras, his recent foray into Sony digital cameras paired with Canon tilt-shift lenses, the incredible set of vintage enlargers in his giant darkroom space, the business models he and his family employ to market his images, water conservation, and, of course, his relationship to the Florida landscape for which he will be forever linked. Join us for this conversation with a true master. Guest: Clyde Butcher Above photograph © Clyde Butcher Tamiani Trail © Clyde Butcher Cigar Orchid Pond © Clyde Butcher Ochopee © Clyde Butcher Big Cypress © Clyde Butcher Moonrise © Clyde Butcher Plaja-S’Arenella-with-Boat, from Salvador Dali series © Clyde Butcher Cadaques, from Salvador Dali series © Clyde Butcher Cap-de-Creus, from Salvador Dali series © Clyde Butcher Clocks by Clyde Butcher circa, 1970s © Clyde Butcher Clyde Butcher and John Harris © Niki Butcher Niki and Clyde Butcher © John Harris Clyde Butcher in his Venice, Florida office © John Harris Butcher workshop and darkroom, 2019 © John Harris Niki Butcher with enlarger, 2019 © John Harris Clyde Butcher in Movie Dome with 11 x 14" view camera © Clyde Butcher Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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