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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 05/06/2021
This is one of the most enjoyable chats on photography we’ve had in a while, and our subject is the history of amateur and popular photography as understood through photography how-to books and manuals. Joining us on the B&H Photography Podcast is Dr. Kim Beil, professor at Stanford University and author of Good Pictures: The History of Popular Photography, and with Professor Beil we not only speak about what is and has been considered a “good photo,” we specifically talk about her collection of photography how-to books and camera manuals, which act as a guide to this “good photography” over the years. A sense of the collection can be found on her Instagram page, and we discuss examples from various decades, as well as those aimed at certain disciplines and those written by popular instructors and well-known photographers, such as Ansel Adams and Gordon Parks. We also talk with Beil about certain trends in popular photography, including ideas as simple as cropping and the many techniques born of technical and artistic innovation. The role that Kodak played in the early years of amateur photography is touched upon, as is that of Polaroid instant photos of the 1970s. Beil has her favorite type of instructional book and we discuss authors who insisted on a prescriptive style of photography rules and those that were more “amateur to amateur.” We find out how she acquires books and also how YouTube tutorials are affecting the genre. Finally, we talk about digital photography trends and what she considers a good photo. Join us for this wide-ranging conversation sure to please any lover of amateur photography. Guest: Kim Beil Photograph © Kim Beil © Kim Beil © Kim Beil © Kim Beil © Kim Beil © Kim Beil © Kim Beil Cover of “Good Pictures: The History of Popular Photography” © Kim Beil From “Good Pictures: The History of Popular Photography” © Kim Beil From “Good Pictures: The History of Popular Photography” © Kim Beil 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 04/15/2021
When you have had as momentous a year as our guest, photographer Misan Harriman  had in 2020, you should shout it from the rooftops. However, on this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, Harriman offers us nothing but humility and gratitude for the work he has done, including creating the September 2020 cover photographs for British Vogue and the powerful images he made at Black Lives Matter marches in London. Harriman left us inspired, and we are happy to share this conversation, supported by Leica Camera. Sweet drops like, “Our ancestors are whispering to us every time we press the shutter” and “…there’s no small talk in black-and-white” are the icing on the cake of a wonderful conversation about his work and workflow. Harriman reflects on his love for image making but also speaks about coming to photography relatively late in life and maintaining confidence despite “imposter syndrome.” He advises photographing what you know and love before you dip your toe in deeper waters. We also talk about keeping your head above those deep waters when you are offered incredibly important assignments, such as the triple gatefold cover with twenty portraits for British Vogue, the first cover photograph by a black man in that magazine’s history. With Harriman we also discuss portrait work and minimizing technical distractions to focus on the “exchange of humanity.” This concept serves for portraits taken remotely as well, as his noted portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex demonstrates. Remote photography apps are mentioned, as is his workflow during BLM protests, including a dogged devotion to black-and-white and using up to five cameras with longer prime lenses for intimacy and safety. Harriman provides us with much to consider, from thoughts on why we should photograph to how to economize using L-mount gear. Join us for this engaging episode and please leave us a comment below. Guest: Misan Harriman Photograph © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman Damson Idris and Daps, 2020 © Misan Harriman Kingsley Ben-Adir, 2020 © Misan Harriman Emeli Sandé, 2020 © Misan Harriman 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 03/25/2021
What is street photography? Is it an urban exercise? Is it black-and-white or color? Is it collaborative or solitary? Can it be an intimate portrait or a long-term project? These are some of the questions we ask of our guest on today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast. And Gulnara Samoilova does not take the bait. Samoilova is interested in expanding street photography, not limiting it with a definition. To her, and as is represented beautifully by the new book she edited, street photography is all of the above—it can happen anywhere, and it is simply “unplanned photos taken in public places.” In addition to be being an editor and curator and the founder of the @womenstreetphotographers Instagram feed, Samoilova is an accomplished photographer herself, and we spend the first half of the show talking street photo practices and how she uses verbal and nonverbal communication to interact with subjects, how she holds the camera, and how a location may affect the style of a photo. She also mentions that she has been a FUJIFILM X  shooter for some time. In the second half of the show, we focus on Women Street Photographers, the new book edited by Samoilova, which profiles one hundred street photographers from around the world, and we find out how this book was edited and produced and about some of the photographers included. Join us for this insightful discussion. Guest: Gulnara Samoilova Photograph © Gulnara Samoilova Myanmar © Gulnara Samoilova New York City © Gulnara Samoilova Ufa, Bashkiria © Gulnara Samoilova © Gulnara Samoilova Cover, Women Street Photographers edited by Gulnara Samoilova © Prestel Verlag, Munich London New York, 2020. “Untitled”; From Women Street Photographers, © Nina Welch-King, 2018 “A Dance of Joy”; From Women Street Photographers, © Regula Tschumi, 2019 “Tokyo Smokers”; From Women Street Photographers, © Hazel Hankin, 2007 “A Night Bus in Kolkota, India”; © Emily Garthwaite, 2017 “The Serpentine”; From Women Street Photographers, © Efrat Sela, 2007 “Sleeping Beauty”; From Women Street Photographers, © Elena Alexandra, 2019 “Materic Water #1”; From Women Street Photographers, © Bruna Rotunno, 2011 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 02/04/2021
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 01/21/2021
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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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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