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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 11/19/2020
On November 22 and 23, B&H will host the 2020 OPTIC All Stars Conference, with a stellar list of outdoor, travel, and adventure photographers giving online presentations and, on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we are pleased to welcome one of those photographers: Rachel Jones Ross. Ross is a landscape and night sky photographer based near Banff, in the Canadian Rockies, and our conversation with her is rife with practical tips for shooting in the mountains and with suggestions to improve your night photography. For starters, we speak with Ross about her workflow as it pertains to planning her shoots, which often require long hikes into the mountains. We discuss the apps she uses to gather information on weather, trails, and the night sky. We also ask about staying warm in subzero temperatures and find out that her most important piece of gear is her pair of  Heat Company gloves. From there we discuss basic (and not so basic) techniques for star and night sky photography, including tips on composition, focus, and focus stacking, including a handy “sharp star” filter for accurate focus. Because Ross is also a well-respected educator, we discuss transitioning to online workshops during the COVID-19 pandemic and her “Night Photography in your Pyjamas” course, and she offers a preview of her OPTIC All Stars presentation. We also discuss her go-to gear and how she decides which cameras and lenses to use for particular locations. Ross is a member of the Sony Alpha Imaging Collective, and she relates her preferences for the various Alpha series cameras and when and why she’ll decide to use a Sony 16-35mm zoom lens or a Zeiss Batis 18mm or Zeiss Loxia 21mm lens. There is a lot of solid information as well as practical tips enmeshed in a very pleasant conversation with the wonderful Rachel Jones Ross. Join us for this episode and register for the free 2020 OPTIC All Stars Conference. Guest: Rachel Jones Ross Photograph © Rachel Jones Ross Moraine Lake, 2020 © Rachel Jones Ross Mt. Assiniboine, 2020 © Rachel Jones Ross Blue Dragon Ice Cave, 2020 © Rachel Jones Ross Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park © Rachel Jones Ross Bow Lake, Jasper National Park, 2020 © Rachel Jones Ross Abraham Lake, Alberta, Canada © Rachel Jones Ross Methane bubbles at Vermillion Lake, 2019 © Rachel Jones Ross 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 05/19/2020
As an industry and as a hobby, the numbers indicate that drone flying and drone photography are still primarily the domain of men, but sustaining this disparity is ridiculous and it should and will change. Our two guests today are part of bringing about that change, and they do so by being good at their craft, by spreading the joy of flying, and teaching drone operation and photography to women and girls. Our first guest today is an Emmy Award-winning camerawoman for CBS News and F.A.A. licensed drone pilot Carmaine Means, who incorporates quadcopter footage into her news coverage and, of course, flies for fun. After a break, we are joined by Yasmin Tajik, a documentary photographer and F.A.A. licensed drone operator who is also the Brand Ambassador Director for the educational and advocacy group Women Who Drone. We get to know the work of each guest, asking Means how and when she decides to use aerial footage in a news segment, what her personal guidelines are for launching a drone, and what the planning stage is like with her producers. We also talk about the value of certain aerial shots in telling a story, about the equipment she uses, and handling the drones in various conditions. Currently, she flies with a DJI Phantom and an Inspire. With Yasmin Tajik, we mention the Federal Aviation Administration licensing process and she recommends the FAA Drone Zone as a good place to start. We also ask her about using drones in documentary work and some of the restrictions placed on flying in the U.S. and other countries. As a resident of Arizona, she discusses some of the advantages of flying in that state, as well as unique guidelines they have established. We also speak about how she learned to fly after initially being hesitant, the work done by Women Who Drone, and taking her Tello Quadcopter into schools and the interest it generates from the next generation of flyers. Tajik also points to the many industries and services that are incorporating drones and the growing opportunities available for licensed pilots, but we don’t forget to talk about the joy she gets by using her DJI Mavic 2 to provide a perspective on the world that our land-based cameras can never match. Join us for this enjoyable and inspirational conversation and if you are a female drone flyer, we’d love to hear your experiences and see your images. Guests: Carmaine Means and Yasmin Tajik Photograph © Yasmin Tajik​ © Yasmin Tajik © Yasmin Tajik © Yasmin Tajik © Yasmin Tajik © Yasmin Tajik © Yasmin Tajik © Yasmin Tajik Courtesy Yasmin Tajik © Carmaine Means © Carmaine Means © Carmaine Means Courtesy Carmaine Means Carmaine Means © Phillip Dembinsky Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 12/18/2019
The B&H Photography Podcast wraps up 2019 expanding our minds, with the help of Swedish photographer Erik Johansson. Enabling his playful and slightly sinister imagination with a wealth of design and photographic talent, Johannsson makes images that toy with the veracity of a photo while using relatively basic photographic processes to create them. It is certainly worth viewing Johansson’s website or Instagram feed before (or while) listening to this episode to familiarize yourselves with the images we discuss and to gain a sense of his mastery of scale and narrative. Combining landscape photography, staged scenes with actors, oversized props, and the best of digital collage, Johansson creates images that seem to emanate directly from his dreamy imagination, but are undoubtedly the product of much real-world work, and he kindly takes the time to explain his process and workflow to us. A woman emerges from a shopping mall escalator to find herself in a dark forest, a man pulls a lonely country road across a field like a bed sheet, a house is tossed as verdant farmland turns into a violent tidal wave. These scenes, along with many others (and some with a decidedly MC Escher feel), have us wondering, “how does he do it?” Join us for our conversation with Johansson to find out the tools he uses (starting with his Hasselblad camera system) and the amount of time and production it takes to create each of these surrealistic vignettes. As we celebrate our 200th episode, chime in on our Facebook group with your all-time favorite episode or let us know a subject you’d like us to cover in 2020. Thanks! And have a great New Year. Guest: Erik Johansson Above photograph © Erik Johansson Above All, 2019 © Erik Johansson Just Visiting, 2019 © Erik Johansson Self-Supporting, 2017 © Erik Johansson Lifetime, 2017 © Erik Johansson Road Closed Unexpectedly, 2019 © Erik Johansson Office Escape, 2019 © Erik Johansson The Cover-Up, 2013 © Erik Johansson Let’s Leave, 2013 © Erik Johansson Daybreaker, 2018 © Erik Johansson Demand & Supply, 2017 © Erik Johansson Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 09/18/2019
On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we revisit our conversation with Stephen and Bette Wilkes in honor of the release of Wilkes’s great new book Day to Night, and the accompanying gallery show at the Bryce Wolkowitz gallery, in New York. We also spend a bit of time reflecting on a few of the legendary photographers who have died recently. The Day to Night series that Stephen Wilkes has been working on for ten years has received much-deserved attention and has grown from its New York roots to encompass locations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. These photographs, which capture a full 24-hour cycle in one frame, are awe-inspiring when viewed as a whole; fascinating when analyzed in detail; and monumental when considered as a production. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes—his wife, business manager, and the behind-the-scenes producer of these incredible photographs. Our conversation is easygoing and bounces back and forth between Mr. and Ms. Wilkes, emphasizing their intertwined working relationship. With Mr. Wilkes, we speak of the genesis of the project and the influences he finds in the paintings of the Dutch Masters and the Hudson River School. We also discuss his process, which is physically and technically demanding. He speaks of a desire to “get lost” in the moment and ultimately how his images are “a representation of his memory” from the day and place. With Ms. Wilkes, we speak of the knotty and time-consuming process of arranging a shoot that will last more than twenty-four continuous hours in some of the world’s busiest and most desolate locations. We discuss many photographs, but concentrate on two images from the Day to Night series to highlight their complicated productions—the first is a photograph of New York City’s Flatiron Building and, in the second half of the show, we visit a watering hole in the Serengeti Plain. To see these images, please visit our website, and, if you are in New York prior to October 26, 2019, check out the Day to Night exhibit at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery. Guests: Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes Highline, New York © Stephen Wilkes Times Square, New York © Stephen Wilkes Flatiron Building, New York © Stephen Wilkes Coney Island, New York © Stephen Wilkes Yosemite National Park © Stephen Wilkes Venice, Italy © Stephen Wilkes Serengeti Plain, Tanzania © Stephen Wilkes Bette Wilkes, Allan Weitz, and Stephen Wilkes © John Harris Mourner in front of Robert Frank’s apartment building, New York © John Harris Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 04/13/2018
The “Day to Night” series that Stephen Wilkes has been working on for several years has received much-deserved attention and has grown from its New York roots to encompass locations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. These photographs, which capture a full 24-hour cycle in one frame are awe-inspiring when viewed as a whole; fascinating when analyzed in detail, and monumental when considered as a production. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes, his wife, business manager, and the behind-the-scenes producer of these incredible photographs. Our conversation is easy-going and bounces back and forth between Mr. and Ms. Wilkes, emphasizing their intertwined working relationship. With Mr. Wilkes, we speak of the genesis of the project and the influences he finds in the paintings of the Dutch Masters and the Hudson River School. We also discuss his process, which is both physically and technically demanding. He speaks of a desire to “get lost” in the moment and ultimately how his images are “a representation of his memory” from the day and place. With Ms. Wilkes, we speak of the knotty and time-consuming process of arranging a shoot that will last more than twenty-four continuous hours in some of the world’s busiest and most desolate locations. We discuss many photographs, but concentrate on two images from the “Day to Night” series to highlight their complicated productions—the first is a photograph of New York City’s Flatiron Building and, in the second half of the show, we visit a watering hole in the Serengeti Plain. To see these images, please visit our website, and, if you are in Washington D.C. prior to April 29, 2018, check out the “Day to Night” exhibit at the National Geographic Museum, and keep your eye out for the upcoming book, to be published by Taschen. Guests: Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes The Highline, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Times Square, New York City © Stephen Wilkes The Flatiron Building, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Coney Island, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Santa Monica Pier © Stephen Wilkes The Western Wall, Jerusalem © Stephen Wilkes Inauguration Day, 2013, Washington D.C. © Stephen Wilkes Yosemite National Park, California © Stephen Wilkes Serengeti National Park, Tanzania © Stephen Wilkes The Grand Canyon © Stephen Wilkes Regata Storica, Venice, Italy © Stephen Wilkes Stephen Wilkes © John Harris Bette Wilkes © John Harris Stephen and Bette Wilkes © John Harris Bette Wilkes, Allan Weitz, and Stephen Wilkes © John Harris Previous Pause Next DON'T MISS AN EPISODE SUBSCRIBE NOW:   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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