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Posted 07/01/2021
Beginning with an iPhone and an “a-ha moment” in the beautiful San Francisco City Hall, photographer Arthur Drooker began a project that would last five years and take him across the United States to photograph the most impressive and interesting city halls in the nation. The project culminated with his wonderful book, City Hall: Masterpieces of American Civic Architecture, from Schiffer Publishing, and it brings him to the B&H Photography Podcast to discuss photographing architecture, civic pride, research and interviews, book publishing, zoom and tilt-shift lenses, and a host of other subjects related to his photography. Join us for this practical and insightful episode. “To me, the best city halls are not just office buildings to administer services, they also use architecture and design to express something about civic pride, civic virtue, and democratic engagement.” —Arthur Drooker Guest: Arthur Drooker Photograph © Arthur Drooker San Francisco City Hall rotunda © Arthur Drooker Buffalo City Hall council chamber © Arthur Drooker Cincinnati City Hall © Arthur Drooker Philadelphia City Hall © Arthur Drooker Detail of William Penn statue atop Philadelphia City Hall © Arthur Drooker San Jose City Hall interior reflections © Arthur Drooker “City Hall” book cover © Arthur Drooker “American Ruins” book cover © Arthur Drooker “Conventional Wisdom” book cover © Arthur Drooker “Pie Town Revisited” book cover © Arthur Drooker 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 06/30/2021
In support of the 2021 OPTIC Outdoor, Photo/Video, Travel Imaging Conference, to be held online July 11-12, 2021, the B&H Photography Podcast team conducted our own photo walk, much like they do as part of the OPTIC Conference events. For this episode we took our cameras and microphones to the beautiful Elizabeth Park Rose Garden, in West Hartford, Connecticut, and, with Allan as the group’s leader and Jason and I as participants, we completed several photo challenges and practiced our photography and storytelling techniques. Since this is a virtual and audio photo walk, we encourage our listeners to participate on your own time and in convenient locations, such as a local park or even your backyard. The episode is designed so that you can pause the recording after the challenge has been assigned and complete it on your own. You can also just listen as we work through our assigned shots with Allan fielding our questions. The gear we use is our own, nothing fancy, and the various challenges can be completed with almost any camera-and-lens combination. For my part, I am using a full-frame Nikon DSLR with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and Jason is using a full-frame Sony Alpha mirrorless camera with a Sony wide-angle lens and the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 lens. Assigned shots incorporate wide-angle and telephoto perspectives and utilize basic photo techniques, controlling aperture and shutter speed for varied affects, and applying ideas on composition, shadow, detail, and narrative. There is even a macro photography bonus challenge at the end of the episode, so bring that lens, too, if you have it. We look forward to “hanging out” with you in this virtual setting, as we do to soon returning to “IRL” photo walks with old and new friends. With that in mind, check out the OPTIC Conference events page with two days of online presentations, and register for the free conference hosted by B&H Photo and sponsored by Canon, Nikon, Sony, Sigma, Godox, and many others. Photograph © Jason Tables Photograph © Jason Tables Photograph © Jason Tables Photograph © Jason Tables Photograph © Jason Tables Photograph © Jason Tables Photograph © John Harris Photograph © John Harris Photograph © John Harris Photograph © John Harris Photograph © John Harris Photograph © Allan Weitz Photograph © John Harris 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 06/17/2021
Is the light in Chicago different than the light in New York? Can “street photography” set the subjects and control the scene? And just how long should you follow people carrying balloons to get a photograph? These are some of the questions we answer in this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast. We welcome photographers Nina Welch Kling and Clarissa Bonet  to the program. Kling lives in New York and Bonet in Chicago, although both are from other places entirely. We talk a bit about the differences in each city’s visual makeup and what defines street photography, but we quickly turn toward the styles and workflow of our two guests. With Bonet we discuss how she constructs scenes using the language of street photography to tell internal stories. Her work is large scale, exacting, and utilizes the strong light, deep shadows, and geometries of the urban environment but, as we find out, she produces and casts her medium format photographs to get the exact image she wants, free of the disruption of the hustling crowd and uncooperative elements. We also ask about her incredible nightscape compositions called “Stray Light” and how they evolved to become large, collaged prints. After a break, we focus on the work of Nina Welch Kling and learn how she’s grown to understand the movement of light through the streets of New York. Kling also discusses positioning herself (“corralling”) and holding her camera to get the angles she needs, as well as to communicate her intention to potential subjects. In addition, we mention FUJIFILM cameras and the wide-angle lenses she prefers. We ask about her series “Duologue,” which pairs two photos together, and how that pairing can add or change meaning. We also dig into the classic themes of anonymity, isolation, and wonder in street photography and how quarantine redirected her practice a bit. Join us for this insightful and easygoing conversation. Guests: Clarissa Bonet and Nina Welch Kling Photograph © Nina Welch Kling © Nina Welch Kling © Nina Welch Kling © Nina Welch Kling © Nina Welch Kling © Nina Welch Kling © Nina Welch Kling “Glimpse” 2019 © Clarissa Bonet “Gust” 2018 © Clarissa Bonet “Zipper Effect” 2018 © Clarissa Bonet “Curated Landscape” 2019 © Clarissa Bonet “Open” 2020 © Clarissa Bonet “NYC” 2016 © Clarissa Bonet “Miami” 2020 © Clarissa Bonet “Chicago” 2017 © Clarissa Bonet 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 06/10/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we take a deep dive into the technical, legal, and even theoretical topics surrounding Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and their growing place in the art and photography worlds. To take on this subject, we welcome cryptocurrency expert and past guest of the show, Drew Hinkes. Hinkes is an attorney and professor and, in 2017, was nominated as one of Coindesk’s Most Influential People in Blockchain. He is also co-founder and General Counsel of Athena Blockchain, a firm focused on tokenized investment products. We also welcome Derek Paul Jack Boyle and Mitra Saboury, who together make up the art collaborative Meatwreck. Meatwreck has recently minted and sold NFTs associated with its art and we ask Boyle and Saboury how the process worked and their general thoughts on NFTs in relation to community and their art work. In addition to clearing some of the murky waters surrounding NFTs, cryptocurrency, and smart contracts, this episode discusses the future of intellectual property and how the blockchain is changing the way we value, store, resell, and protect our copyrighted images. Join us for this in-depth and informative conversation. Guests: Drew Hinkes, Derek Paul Jack Boyle, Mitra Saboury Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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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 04/01/2021
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 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 10/12/2020
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome collector, curator, author, and educator W.M. Hunt. Part of the incredible photography collection Hunt has acquired over the years is being auctioned by the famed Christies auction house, and Hunt joins us to chat about the genesis of his collection, that hard-to-define attraction to an image that inspires a purchase, and his hopes for the current sale. The collection that Hunt is selling is called “The Unseen Eye: Photos from the W.M. Hunt Collection,” and it includes photographs by Richard Avedon, Sally Mann, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Henri Cartier-Bresson—a veritable Who’s Who of photography of the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection was given its name because each of the photos has subjects whose eyes are obscured in some way, and we discuss why Hunt decided to collect such an eclectic group of images. Hunt is also an author and educator, and we discuss the numerous monographs he has written, how to “let a picture find you,” and the visceral difference between a good and a great photograph. Join us for this insightful and fun episode. Guest: W.M. Hunt Photograph © Duane Michals, from “The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the W.M. Hunt Collection,” Courtesy of W.M. Hunt and Christies America © Duane Michals, from the “The Unseen Eye: Photos from the W.M. Hunt Collection,” Courtesy Christies America Diane Arbus, from the “The Unseen Eye: Photos from the W.M. Hunt Collection,” Courtesy Christies America Richard Avedon, from the “The Unseen Eye: Photos from the W.M. Hunt Collection,” Courtesy Christies America Henri Cartier-Bresson, from the “The Unseen Eye: Photos from the W.M. Hunt Collection,” Courtesy Christies America Sally Mann, from the “The Unseen Eye: Photos from the W.M. Hunt Collection,” Courtesy Christies America Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 09/16/2020
As museums in New York and around the world begin to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a brand-new museum is facing the challenge of its grand reopening in the competitive New York City art and culture world. We welcome the inaugural Director of Exhibitions of Fotografiska, Amanda Hajjar, to the B&H Photography Podcast to discuss the unique model of this for-profit arts center and its plans to make a mark on the photography scene in New York. After opening, in December 2019, Fotografiska New York was forced to close after just ninety days and, of course, we will also ask Hajjar how they handled the quarantine disruption and are adjusting to the new protocols placed on museums. Fotografiska New York is the third of three like-named museums, with more scheduled to open around the world. The original began in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010, and adopted a different paradigm than the traditional museum—it displays a wide range of photography styles, it has no permanent collection, and it works with the artists themselves to design the exhibitions. It also relies on admission sales, as well as café, restaurant, and special event business to generate income. It created much buzz in the months before opening in New York, and its initial reviews were positive, for its events and photo exhibition programming. We speak with Hajjar about the museum’s exhibition philosophy and how its model facilitates an institution able to react to and comment on current social issues, as well as examine relevant images from the past. We discuss its attempt to create a hybrid between gallery and museum and shine a light on its current exhibitions, including works by Cooper & Gorfer and by Martin Schoeller. Finally, we get to the bottom of what the word Fotografiska really means. Join us for this enjoyable conversation. Guest: Amanda Hajjar Photograph courtesy Fotografiska Israa With Yellow Boxes, 2020 © Cooper & Gorfer Yellow Roseline, 2020 © Cooper & Gorfer Gary Drinkhard, 2019, video and sound installation © Martin Schoeller Kwame Ajamu, 2019, video and sound installation. © Martin Schoeller Ezra, 2019 © Julie Blackmon. Courtesy the artist and Robert Mann Gallery The Shan Hai Jing Hotel Room 002, 2019 © Zhongjia Sun Untitled, 2019 © Cristina Bartley Dominguez The Church Mission Building, 2019. Courtesy Fotografiska Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 08/21/2020
We present a fun and insightful conversation on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, perhaps due to the Midwestern charm of photographer Julie Blackmon and the enjoyable discussion of her wonderful tableaux vivants of family life in middle America. We also welcome back to the show gallery owner Robert Mann, who is currently hosting an exhibit of Blackmon’s photographs titled Talent Show. Mann was a guest on our show, in 2018, when we spoke about the work of Australian photographer Murray Fredericks. The medium format compositions of Julie Blackmon infuse innocent playtime with a creeping sense of danger to create works with a wonderful dark humor. There is also a welcome DIY spirit to her work, and we talk about the creation of her photos and the involvement of her own family and friends in the images; even photos that have up to twenty-five subjects are produced and organized with her sisters and fellow parents.  She is hands-on in all aspects of the work, including making the large prints herself. We also talk about her use of the Hasselblad H system and how she combines wide angle and normal perspectives in her detailed final prints. After a break, Robert Mann takes the lion’s share of the questions as we discuss the many challenges faced by photography galleries. In addition to the expense of a brick and mortar gallery and the proliferation of online viewing and sales, the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the idea of a public art gallery.  Mann relates the decision to close his Chelsea gallery and receive collectors on a by-appointment basis, as well as his thoughts on creating editions and limiting prints and the general state of the fine art photo market. Join us for this enlightening four-way conversation as we gain insight from the perspective of the artist and the gallerist. Guests: Julie Blackmon and Robert Mann Photograph © Julie Blackmon River, 2020 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Baby Toss, 2009 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Stock Tank, 2012 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Talent Show, 2019 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Outing, 2019 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Spray Paint, 2020 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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