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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 01/28/2021
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 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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Posted 12/17/2020
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome photographer Matthew Franklin Carter to the program. Like many photographers, Matt Carter wears a lot of hats. In his case, literally and figuratively, but his photography work blends documentary, editorial, and portrait work and reflects the place he calls home—Greenville, South Carolina. He shoots for regional and specialty magazines and does corporate work and portraits for local artists and businesses. He also assists other photographers and, of course, he has his personal projects. Family, food, fishing, hunting, drag racing, and dirt cars are depicted with humility and grace and a touch of humor. With Carter we discuss a range of topics, but keep our conversation focused on how to work comfortably in varied settings and with different communities of folk. Carter may be at home on the rivers shooting fly fishing, but he also has produced wonderful series at local car-racing tracks, a world with which he is much less familiar. We talk about these two racing projects—“Dirt” and “Glory”—and how he mingles with the drivers and crowd, as well as the gear he uses, from FUJIFILM to Mamiya, to create portraits and documentary-style images. We also discuss photographing hunting and fishing and the portrait work he does, in studio and on location, and the lighting he uses for each situation. We close on the topic of “finding your voice,” and for Carter how his latest project on local food production unites his many passions. Join us for this easygoing and informative conversation. Guest: Matthew Franklin Carter Above photograph © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Glory” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Glory” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Glory” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Glory” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Dirt” © Matthew Franklin Carter From the series “Dirt” © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter © Matthew Franklin Carter Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 12/03/2020
Today we welcome back to the B&H Photography Podcast  Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and friend to the show, Salwan Georges. Georges joined us four years ago to talk about his documentary project centered around the Arabic communities in Michigan, but a great deal has changed since then, and today he joins us to discuss his work covering the 2020 presidential campaigns for the Washington Post. With Georges, we dig into the nuts and bolts of navigating a presidential election in the middle of a pandemic. We talk about press pools, political rallies, booking your own airfare, and making sure your hotel room is disinfected. We also discuss getting new angles to tell stories, prime versus zoom, switching to the Sony a9 II, and using an iPhone when that’s the only option. Georges also relates his experiences working with editors, having the backs of other photographers, and his additional work covering the opioid crisis and other painful stories of our time. Join us for this insightful conversation that we recorded in the days immediately following the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. Guest: Salwan Georges Photograph © Salwan Georges Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden listen outside of the Chase Center as he speaks during the Democratic National Convention, in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday, August 20, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post President Donald J. Trump listens to a question from a reporter during a news briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at The White House, in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, September 27, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate, gives a victory speech after winning the New Hampshire Primary during Primary Night Celebration at SNHU Field House on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post President Donald J. Trump throws a hat to supporters during a “Make America Great Again Victory Rally,” in Waterford Township, Michigan on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, and his wife, Jill Biden, greet supporters with Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, outside of the Chase Center, the secondary location of the Democratic National Convention, in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday, August 20, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post The final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden appears on screens during a flight from Detroit on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Nash Ismael, 20, places his arms around his sisters Nadeen, 18, left, and Nancy, 13, as they visit the gravesite of their parents on Father's Day at White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery on Sunday, June 21, 2020, in Troy, MI. The Ismael children lost their parents within weeks to COVID-19. Photograph © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post 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 11/12/2020
Eight months ago, on the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcomed four photojournalists who were covering the beginning stages of the COVID-19 crisis in New York. We discussed their fears and the stories they hoped to cover; we also discussed safety precautions, limited access to subjects, and altered workflows. It was the beginning of a new reality. On today’s episode, we welcome back two of those photographers— Desiree Rios and Sarah Blesener —for a follow-up conversation on how their work has evolved since March. We first welcome Desiree Rios, who photographs for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. We speak with Rios about her daily assignments covering the effects of the pandemic in New York, primarily in the Bronx. We talk about using her work as a support for the community, about building solidarity with the people she photographs, and about trying to tell deeper aspects of a story with daily news images. We also marvel over how attitudes about masks and PPE were so different in March. After a break, we speak with Sarah Blesener. She also works for the Times and WSJ, but thanks to a commission from the International Center for Photography and a grant from National Geographic, she was able to focus on a long-term project over these months. Specifically, she photographed her eighty-year-old landlady and how she, along with the neighborhood community she is a part of, came together to withstand the effects of the pandemic and shutdown. Blesener relates how she came to appreciate working in a less intimate and less spontaneous manner than normal, how she avoided risky assignments so as not to risk infecting her landlady, and how the project grew to involve the neighborhood and became a very optimistic story, despite the situation. This series is currently on exhibition at ICP. Join us for this topical and interesting conversation on the evolving role of photojournalism during 2020. Guests: Desiree Rios and Sarah Blesener Photograph © Sarah Blesener From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 From the series, "Slow as Summer Is, Still" © Sarah Blesener, 2020 Our Lady of Mount Carmel was open for private prayer in the Belmont neighborhood of The Bronx, New York on Sunday, May 24, 2020. © Desiree Rios for The New York Times Mercedes poses for a portrait with her daughter down the street from her apartment building in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York on June 19, 2020. Mercedes, who has no income since her husband lost his construction job due to the pandemic, is unable to receive unemployment benefits because of their immigration status. © Desiree Rios for The New York Times Residents wear face masks while sitting on the stoop of their building in the Morrisania neighborhood of The Bronx, New York on April 14, 2020. © Desiree Rios for The New York Times Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 07/29/2020
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we present a conversation with two photographers. We start with Aaron Turner, who is also a scholar, an archivist, and the host of the podcast “Photographers of Color.” Turner stays with us as we speak later with Laylah Amatullah Barrayn about her street portraiture during the COVID-19 outbreak in New York and  the recent uprising in Minneapolis. With Turner, we talk about the genesis of The Center for Photographers of Color, which is currently located at the School of Arts at the University of Arkansas, and how it grew from a Twitter feed as an attempt to recognize and connect the many African-American photographers both currently working and of historical significance and influence. We discuss the Center and its research, exhibition, archiving goals, and overall mission to develop and maintain a community of photographers. We also chat with Turner about his personal photography and how that has evolved over the years from photojournalism to documentary to a more conceptual form integrating personal and cultural histories. After a break, we welcome Laylah Amatullah Barrayn and jump right into a conversation about her decision to return to her Brownsville, Brooklyn, neighborhood to photograph the residents during the early uncertain days of the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to an assignment on funeral directors, she created a wonderful series on the fashion and cultural statements of wearing a mask. We also speak about her work in Minneapolis during the June uprising there, and how she focused on portraiture of the residents, as opposed to the protests themselves. We also discuss technique with a FUJIFILM mirrorless system and a 35mm lens, the need to bear witness, the value of working with a community of photographers, and the “power of the archive.” Join us for this wide-ranging and passionate conversation about the importance of recognizing tradition, supporting your fellow photographers, and pushing for necessary changes within the photography sphere and the culture at large. Guests: Aaron Turner and Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Photograph © Aaron Turner Looking at Drue King, from The Black Alchemy, Vol 2 series, 2018 © Aaron Turner Untitled, from The Black Alchemy, Vol. 1 series, 2015 © Aaron Turner Great Uncle Sammie's Funeral, Marion, Arkansas, 2014 © Aaron Turner Bethel A.M.E. Church, Lansing, Arkansas, 2015 © Aaron Turner Terrence D., Dumas, Arkansas, 2015 © Aaron Turner Lougè Delcy, also known as Dapper Lou, wears a custom-designed mask near the entrance of Prospect Park, May, 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Aïssatou, from Conakry, Guinea, waits for the shuttle train at the Prospect Park station, Brooklyn, May 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Minneapolis, June, 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Minneapolis, June, 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Mutual aid networks, distributing food and supplies in north Minneapolis, June 2020 © Laylah Amatullah Barrayn Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 07/08/2020
Our conversation on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is with the fabulous and innovative Duane Michals. Of the many comments he made about his photography practice, a practice that has been commercially and artistically successful for almost sixty years, one that stood out was his aside that “photography has failed [him] as an art form.” The comment comes late in our conversation but refers to the idea that Michals' goal of pure expression is not accommodated by photography alone; he needs to turn to sequential narrative, to writing on photo prints, even to painting on photos to get to the expression that he wants to convey. For anyone looking for how-tos or technique tips, you’ve come to the wrong episode, but to light the path to a true artistic self-expression, Michals’ words hold much promise. We spoke with him about a range of subjects, from how a constant curiosity combined with good work habits fueled his work and success. We talk about his working-class upbringing, his youthful adventures to Texas and, later, to the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War, where he first took photos in earnest. About specific images, we asked about his “Death Comes to the Old Lady,” and he also related a story about photographing Warren Beatty in a New York hotel room. We even spoke about Canon cameras and the references he draws upon for his work, from Walt Whitman and William Blake to Pierre Bonnard and Robert Frank, but mostly we discuss his creative instincts and process, which seem to start and end with the idea, “If you already know what you’re going to do, then you’re not being creative.” Join us for this insightful conversation with a true photographic innovator. Guest: Duane Michals Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York Death Comes to the Old Lady, 1969 © Duane Michals, Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, New York 2nd Prize Winner – B&H Photography Podcast Leica Photo Challenge – “Work & Dance from Home” © Ajay Raina, 2020 1st Prize Winner – B&H Photography Podcast Leica Photo Challenge – “Applause” © Karles Rives 2020 Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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