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Posted 09/16/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome the founder and Executive Director of the Social Documentary Network, Glenn Ruga, and photographer Sofia Aldinio, who is the recipient of the 2021 ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography, presented by the Social Documentary Network. As should be clear, our conversation today revolves around the Social Documentary Network, or “SDN,” and we learn about this community of documentary photographers and its website on which more than three thousand documentary series have been uploaded and are available for viewing. Ruga tells of the evolution of the site since its 2008 inception, and how adding classes, awards, portfolio reviews, and, most important, the online and print magazine ZEKE has led to the growth of this platform, which is open to all photographers. Our chat also draws from Ruga’s photography work and thoughts on documentary, in general. In the second half of the show we speak with Aldinio, a past guest, about “Awake in the Desert Land,” her photo series that received the ZEKE prize. Aldinio tells of the circumstances that brought her to Baja California, Mexico, during 2020 and this intimate series on village communities affected by climate change. We also speak with Aldinio about her working methods, about shelving her normal Canon system for a more stealth FUJIFILM, about making relationships with subjects, and the feedback and support she received from her SDN workshop leaders. We wrap by previewing the Social Documentary Network events and exhibits at Photoville 2021 and Aldinio’s presentation on her award-winning series. Guests: Sofia Aldinio and Glenn Ruga Photograph © Sofia Aldinio The cover and two interior spreads from the upcoming Fall, 2021 issue of ZEKE Magazine. Courtesy The Social Documentary Network “The newest cemetery in San Jose de Gracia, Baja California, Mexico, January 17, 2021. The small community has at least four different cemeteries generationally identified. The town lost most of its population after Hurricane Lester in 1992, the biggest storm the community has faced in its history. Since 2006, the community has lost 60 members and has a population of 12 today. “Awake in the Desert Land” “Awake in the Desert Land” “Awake in the Desert Land” “Awake in the Desert Land” “Belonging” “Belonging” “Belonging” “Belonging” Previous Pause Next Sofia Aldinio Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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Posted 09/09/2021
What do the films Goodfellas, The Devil Wears Prada, Creed, Ocean’s 8, and Die Hard with a Vengeance have in common? The poster art, publicity, and behind-the-scenes photography for these and about one hundred other feature films were made by photographer Barry Wetcher, and we welcome Wetcher to this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast. On-set still photography or, simply, “still photography” is one of the more unique jobs found under the big tent that is photography. The skills needed to excel in this work incorporate abilities from many photographic genres. Portraiture, documentary, news, action, and still life talents are all called upon to create the images needed for varied purposes, but perhaps the most important skill is the ability to understand the many moving parts and dynamic personalities of a film shoot and to find a way to be everywhere but nowhere at the same time. With Wetcher, we talk about the specific demands of the craft, about the evolution of gear from film to DSLR and, ultimately, to mirrorless (Nikon and FUJIFILM, in Wetcher’s case), and mostly about how to best navigate the world of producers, directors, cinematographers, and actors to create the seemingly ephemeral but truly indelible images of movie history. We also find time to ask Wetcher about some of the legendary actors and directors he has photographed over the years. Join us for this enjoyable and informative chat with Wetcher and, as it turns out, his “Brooklyn Brother,” host Allan Weitz. Guest: Barry Wetcher Photograph © Barry Wetcher Chadwick Boseman in “Marshall,” 2017 © Barry Wetcher/Open Road Films Human Green Screen from “I Am Legend,” 2007 © Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros. Pictures James Gandolfini in “Not Fade Away,” 2012 © Barry Wetcher/Paramount Vantage Joe Pesci in “GoodFellas,” 1990 © Barry Wetcher/ Warner Bros. Pictures 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 09/02/2021
There is a vibrance, a joy, and a love for photography that one feels when speaking with Meryl Meisler. It’s also very cool that by day she was a high school art teacher in Brooklyn and, by night, dancing and photographing at legendary clubs like Studio 54. Anyway, that’s just how I see it. Of course, there’s a lot more to Meisler’s photography than just 1970s disco and 1980s Bushwick, and we talk about a wide range of subjects on this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast. Meisler’s latest book, New York PARADISE LOST Bushwick Era Disco, is a wonderful look back at two very different versions of New York. It juxtaposes images she took in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick and those in the clubs and discos of Manhattan. We speak about how photography starts conversations, and how we can feel more confident with a particular camera, whether medium format, FUJIFILM X series, or a Canon point-and-shoot. We also discuss editing and maintaining a large body of work over a period of decades, studying with Lisette Model, balancing a photography practice with a full-time job, and an upcoming exhibit of Meisler’s work to be held at the same public school at which she taught. Join us for this uplifting conversation and check out Meisler’s extended exhibition at The Center for Photography at Woodstock, through September 15, 2021. Guest: Meryl Meisler Photograph © Meryl Meisler Shirtless Man Wearing Hood and Jeans, Gates Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, June 1982 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Potassa de la Fayette Poised on Grand Piano, the Copacabana, NY, NY, February 1977 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Student Interviews 83rd Precinct Police Officers, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, June 1982 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Five Fashionable Rejects (With JudiJupiter) Studio 54, NY, NY, October 1978 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Nose Ring, Earring, Mustache and Hickey IS 291, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, April 1991 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Turban and Brooch, La Farfalle, NY, NY, June 1978 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Anklets and High Heels Hurrah, NY, NY, March 1978 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Sneakers, IS 291, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, 1984 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Magnolia Tree Gates Ave, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, May 1983 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt Teacher Carrying Math Books IS 291, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, 1984 © Meryl Meisler, courtesy of ClampArt 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 08/10/2021
We have been looking forward to this conversation for weeks. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we sit down with retired Detective 1 st Grade Michael Cunningham, of the New York City Police Department, to talk about crime-scene unit photography. Cunningham is an expert on crime-scene photography and forensics—in addition to his twenty-seven years with the NYPD, he has worked as a trainer for the Department of Homeland Security, authored a book on crime-scene management, and currently works for ShotSpotter Investigate, an investigative case management solution service. We discuss the various aspects of crime-scene photography, from camera and lens selection to shooting technique, along with storage, retrieval, and sharing of images. We compare the use of film and digital imaging and the challenges and benefits brought on by new technology. In addition, we talk about photos used for case solving and those of evidentiary value and the different photography departments within the NYPD. Cunningham walks us through the procedures and shot selection of a photographer when approaching a crime scene, and the protocols involved when documenting it. He also regales us with a few stories of his many investigations during his years on the force. We would like to hear from our listeners about the B&H Photography Podcast. Please take a minute to complete this simple survey about listening habits and potential topics. Thank you, from the B&H Podcast team. Guest: Michael Cunningham Photograph: Courtesy of Michael Cunningham Photograph: Courtesy of Michael Cunningham Michael Cunningham and 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 07/15/2021
On this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we are thrilled to help celebrate the first anniversary of Black Women Photographers. Founded in July 2020 by Polly Irungu, the mission of Black Women Photographers is to “disrupt the notion that it is difficult to discover and commission Black creatives.” And toward that goal, BWP is now a global organization of more than 600 members, and as an online directory, has become a home for Black women and non-binary photographers to receive proper recognition and, most importantly, to get hired. We welcome Polly Irungu to discuss the founding of BWP, and to talk about the challenges and joys of running an organization that has blossomed so quickly, and about the successes of the past year and goals for the future. On that note, Irungu thrills us by announcing new grants available to photographers. We are also joined by photographer Dawn Bangi, who received her first professional assignment—with the New York Times, no less—through Black Women Photographers. We ask Bangi how she became familiar with BWP and about the assignment she received. We also discuss her other work, the Nikon and Mamiya gear she uses, and the influence of Gordon Parks. Join us for this inspiring episode and discover some of the great work found at Black Women Photographers. Guests: Polly Irungu and Dawn Bangi Photograph © Polly Irungu © Polly Irungu © Polly Irungu © Polly Irungu Courtesy of Polly Irungu/Black Women Photographers © Dawn Bangi/New York Times From the “Davin and Davis series” © Dawn Bangi From the “Davin and Davis series” © Dawn Bangi From the “Davin and Davis series” © Dawn Bangi 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 06/03/2021
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 03/04/2021
On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome wedding and portrait photographer Kesha Lambert. We are excited to speak with Lambert about her approach to wedding photography on today’s show, but she is also speaking at the upcoming 4th annual Depth of Field Portrait, Wedding, and Event Photography Conference, which is a free virtual event to be held on March 7 – 8, 2021. The conference is hosted by B&H Photo and sponsored by Sony, Nikon, Canon, Godox, HP/NVIDIA, and others. The work of Kesha Lambert stands out for its ability to be both joyous and intimate. She deftly uses color and composition, as well as experience and intuition to tell unique and universal wedding day stories. Did I mention that Lambert is also a lawyer, mom to three boys, a member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association, and a Sony Artisan of Imagery? In our conversation, we discuss her business, intrapersonal, and photography skills to get a sense of how she runs her successful studio. Her website is a lesson in design and good business practices, and we discuss cameras and lenses, getting ahead of client expectations, contracts, and subjects as diverse as lighting kits and keeping large wedding parties focused and in frame. Join us for this insightful and enjoyable chat and register for Depth of Field 2021. Guest: Kesha Lambert Photograph © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert 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 02/18/2021
Has the Canon EOS R5 changed the conversation about using mirrorless cameras for bird and wildlife photography? This is the position of our guest, David Speiser, who, this summer, traded his Canon 1D X Mark III for the R system camera and lenses. But his colleague, fellow bird photographer and—for now—DSLR stalwart Grace Scalzo, is not quite ready to make that switch. Today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast focuses on the features of the Canon R5 and RF lenses that specifically benefit bird photographers. Speiser relates his decision to sell a treasure trove's worth of gear and reinvest in Canon’s mirrorless system. He notes the advanced eye focus, the customization features, in-body image stabilization, and new, sharp lenses as factors in his decision. Scalzo, however, is not ready to give up her rugged, fast, and ergonomically balanced DSLR with its broad selection of quality glass and an optical viewfinder. This is a fun-spirited and well-articulated debate between two shooters who really know their gear and their craft. In addition to the DSLR vs. mirrorless smackdown, we discuss 600mm lenses, adapters, gimbal heads, tripods, sharpening software, and even some land management and wildlife ethics issues. Join us for this vastly informative conversation, ideal for Canon photographers and wildlife shooters considering their next purchase. Also, please check out the Musea Gathering virtual photo conference, a wonderful two-day event on wedding and family photography. Guests: Grace Scalzo and David Speiser Photograph © David Speiser Black-chinned Hummingbird. Canon 1D X Mark II with 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens and 1.4x teleconverter. 1/3200 second at ISO 1600 © Grace Scalzo Great Horned Owl. Canon 1D X Mark II with 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens and 1.4x teleconverter. 1/125 second at ISO 1600 © Grace Scalzo Summer Tanager with Bug. Canon 1D X Mark II with 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens and 2.0x teleconverter. 1/640 second at ISO 1600 © Grace Scalzo Gray Fox. Canon 1D X Mark II with 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens. 1/500 second at ISO 3200 © Grace Scalzo Painted Lady on Thistle. Canon 1D X Mark II with 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens and 2.0x teleconverter. 1/640 second at ISO 400 © Grace Scalzo Common Cuckoo, 2020. Canon R5 with adapter and 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens and 2.0x teleconverter. 1/4000 second at ISO 1600 © David Speiser Barred Owl, NYC, 2020. Canon R5 with RF 100-500mm f/4.5 Lens. 300mm at 1/40 second, ISO 3200 © David Speiser Western Tanager, NYC, 2020. Canon R5 with RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM Lens. 500mm at 1/320 second, ISO 2000 © David Speiser Atlantic Puffin, 2020. Canon R5 with adapter and 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens and 2.0x teleconverter. 1/2500 second at ISO 800 © David Speiser Black Guillemot, 2020. Canon R5 with adapter and 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens and 2.0x teleconverter. 1/2500 second at ISO 800 © David Speiser Ruby-throated Hummingbird, 2020. Canon R5 with adapter and 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens and 2.0x teleconverter. 1/800 second at ISO 3200 © David Speiser Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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