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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 03/11/2021
This is the second episode of the B&H Photography Podcast produced with the collaboration of Leica Camera, and we are pleased to welcome photographer Stella Johnson to the show. It is the “in-between moments of life” that Johnson describes as the subject of her work, work that includes books and documentary series made in Cameroon, Greece, Nicaragua, and Mexico. In this easygoing conversation, we discuss the nature of her long-term projects, and the motivations that return her to the same places year after year. We also talk about composing with rangefinder cameras, being at the eye level of your subject, and the weeks that go by without making pictures and the verbal and nonverbal communication necessary when you are invited as a photographer into a community or home, as Johnson has been. For her personal documentary work, Johnson has relied on Leica M cameras and a 35mm focal length lens. We discuss this focal distance in terms of a personal comfort zone and one that even felt safer during pandemic time. Johnson keeps her settings simple and concentrates on composition and the moment; she tends to find light and locations that she likes and waits for the images. Because Johnson’s compositions are so strong in black-and-white and her color work is minimal and adroit, we ask for her thoughts on how to work with both formats and if a fluidity between them is easy. Finally, in searching for a definition of documentary photography, we mulled over the effect of time, of returning to locations and subjects, of its distinction from photojournalism, as seeing “what life is like” and the stories of “just daily life.” Guest: Stella Johnson Photograph © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “RE-CREATIONS” © Stella Johnson 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 01/15/2020
Imagine the privilege of being present at the creation of one of the “wonders of the world,” and then imagine being asked to document the magnitude—and the details—of that creation. Our guest on today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast has just that privilege and that responsibility and, as he puts it, this telescope may “change the way we understand our universe.” Chris Gunn has been a NASA contract photographer for almost twenty years but, for the past ten, he has dedicated himself to the James Webb Space Telescope and documenting the construction and eventual launch of this spacecraft, which will replace the Hubble as NASA’s most powerful telescope. We speak with Gunn about all aspects of his job and, specifically, about the gorgeous medium format images he creates that are made available to the public. Gunn is responsible for documenting the construction process, which includes portraits of scientists, as well as macro shots of screws, and he relates how he has “taken the extra step” to evolve as a photographer, incorporating medium format photography and detailed setups. Gunn must be prepared to shoot any style of photo and he discusses his daily responsibilities, how his gear has evolved over time, the lighting he chooses, and his interaction with the hundreds and technicians and scientists he works with regularly. We also discuss marketing yourself as a photographer and the specific challenges that make his job like no other, including working in giant “clean rooms,” accepting that your work is immediately in the public domain, and incorporating the aesthetics from science-fiction films. Sitting in on this recording is our own member of the B&H Space Force, writer Todd Vorenkamp. Join us for this fascinating episode in which we learn about this incredible spacecraft and the work that goes into documenting its creation and check out our 2016 episode, in which we speak with the imaging scientists from the  Hubble Telescope mission. Guest: Chris Gunn Above photograph © Chris Gunn Chamber A Door © Chris Gunn/NASA Blanket Inspection © Chris Gunn/NASA Wings Deployed © Chris Gunn/NASA Lights Out Inspection © Chris Gunn/NASA Container Doors © Chris Gunn/NASA Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 09/25/2019
When one of the world’s most “followed” photographers is available for a conversation, you make the time to talk with him, and when that photographer is acclaimed adventure, landscape, travel, and surf photographer Chris Burkard, expect that conversation to include some serious insights into the passion and ambition it takes to create the beautiful images he makes. On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Burkard about a range of subjects—and this conversation does not disappoint. We get right into it by asking about his penchant for shooting in frigid locations, and how stubbornness and even persistence can be the enemy of good photography in sub-zero temperatures. We discuss the composition of his photographs and how that is indicative of his views on nature, and we dig into his “origin story” and why clients began to come to him for the kind of photography he creates. In general, however, we stick to the nuts and bolts of his photography. We learn why he prefers mirrorless cameras, specifically the Sony Alpha a7R IV, how he organizes his commercial workflow to make time for the adventures he craves, and how he sets time aside to be with his young family. After a break, we ask Burkard to walk us through the creation of a few of his best-known images. Not only does he offer insight into the photographic aspects, but he elaborates to give us a better understanding of the remote locations he finds and the teamwork needed. To quote Burkard, “to better understand how the Earth was made, we must look at it from new perspectives.” Join us for this eye-opening conversation. Guest: Chris Burkard Aleutian Islands, 2013 © Chris Burkard Westfjord, Iceland, 2016 © Chris Burkard Highlining in Joshua Tree with Garrison Rowland on Hall of Horrors formation during the Supermoon, 2016 © Chris Burkard Skógar, Iceland, 2014 © Chris Burkard Westfjord, Iceland, 2016 © Chris Burkard Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 06/05/2019
Do you have undeveloped rolls of film that have been sitting around forever? Maybe you don't even realize that you have unprocessed rolls from the "good ol' days of analog" in an old camera bag or a dresser drawer. Now is the time to look into this matter and have the chance to explore and share your memories, perhaps even rediscover events and people that memory has left behind. On this week's episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome the directors of Lost Rolls America, Ron Haviv and Lauren Walsh. Inspired by Haviv's own The Lost Rolls book, they have initiated this project to create a national archive of lost, yet now found, images "to form a collective memory that prioritizes the role of photos in constructing our personal and shared pasts. In revisiting the past, this project also encourages contemplation of how the present and future will be remembered." The idea is simple, but one look at the growing archive and the memories shared, and it becomes clear how powerful this project can be. With Haviv and Walsh, we recount the genesis of the project, how PhotoShelter, PhotoWings, and FUJIFILM came onboard as partners, and they offer insight on the future plans for the project. They also discuss a few of the more interesting images and recollections submitted, how the submission process works and, of course, they encourage our listeners to submit lost rolls. Above Photograph © Mette Lampcov/Lost Rolls America Lost Rolls America: What kind of memories does this photo bring back? Valentina Zavarin: I was leaving alone to America. Time for adventure away from my mother and siblings. I remember how excited I was for this new life ahead after World War II. Everyone is smiling but I remember they were in a shock that they were left behind. Valentina Zavarin/Lost Rolls America, 1950 Lost Rolls America: Does this photo bring back any memories? Debra Miller: Yes. Sadness, horror, shock. Debra Miller/ Lost Rolls America, 2001 Lost Rolls America: Is this what you expected to see? Elizabeth Kamir: No. The old roll of Tri-X that had taken up residence in my drawer for nearly 30 years always dared me to imagine. I never planned to develop it. I assumed if there was anything on the roll, it would either be something innocuous, like pictures of my grandmother or something embarrassing, like theatrical, nude self-portraits. I might have taken pictures like that back then. Elizabeth Kamir/Lost Rolls America, 1990 Lost Rolls America: What kind of memories does this photo bring back? Mette Lampcov: It makes me think of how much I used to laugh my head off with her (Tracy). It makes me miss London and old friends, especially people who have a wicked sense of humor- and seeing her head float in the back garden is a perfect reminder of her beautiful funny madness. Mette Lampcov/Lost Rolls America, 2002 Lost Rolls America: How does this old photo make you feel? Michael Starensic: I feel a sense of accomplishment that I was able to capture the times and emotions as the country swayed from crisis to crisis. This was the last interlude- "coming up for air" I called it- between the major tumult of the Kosovo War two months earlier and the start of renewed opposition that month. We soon headed back to the capital and events were intense for the next 14 months. Nevena and I married 2 months later in Belgrade in the midst of mounting protest and turmoil. Michael Starensic/Lost Rolls America, 1999 Lost Rolls America: How does this old photo make you feel? Bruce Lampcov: Very nostalgic. I miss the days when my children were young and together we discovered new places, new cultures. Bruce Lampcov/Lost Rolls America, 2004 Lost Rolls America: What kind of memories does this photo bring back? Tamika Jancewicz: Just how huge I was when I was pregnant! I think I felt that way when I took the picture as well. Tamika Jancewicz/Lost Rolls America, 2007 Lost Rolls America: What are we looking at here? Russell Gontar: This is my friend, Linda. We spent an afternoon taking pictures at the beach and old amusement park. I asked her to close her eyes in an attempt to be "arty". Russell Gontar/Lost Rolls America, 1977 Lost Rolls America: How does this old photo make you feel? Jennifer Mitchell: As all the kiddos in the picture are my nieces and nephew, it makes me feel amazingly proud. One is in the Air Force Academy, one is a wedding planner in a Colorado Rocky Mountain resort, and one just got accepted into a PhD program for Astrophysics. I bet my sister (who is reading to them) thinks that she might have had a little something to do with it.:) When I showed her the picture, she sighed and said, "Oh, that was always one of my favorite things to do with those kids!" Jennifer Mitchell/Lost Rolls America, 2004 Lost Rolls America: How does this old photo make you feel? Keith Munger: Like One Of The Miraculous Few That Loves His Wife As Much Now As In 1969. I Am A Very Lucky Guy! Keith Munger/Lost Rolls America, 1969 Guests: Lauren K. Walsh and Ron Haviv Ron Haviv is a is an Emmy nominated, award-winning photojournalist and co-founder of the photo agency VII, dedicated to documenting conflict and raising awareness about human rights issues around the globe. He has worked in more than one hundred countries and published four critically acclaimed collections of photography. His work has been featured in numerous museums and galleries, including the Louvre, the United Nations, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Lauren Walsh is a professor and writer who teaches at The New School and NYU, where she is the Director of NYU Gallatin's Photojournalism Lab. She is editor of Macondo, a photo book documenting the long-term conflict in Colombia, and coeditor of the collection, The Future of Text and Image, as well as the Millennium Villages Project, a photography book about efforts to relieve extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. She has appeared on CNN as a scholar of photography and digital culture, as well as in the documentary 9/11: Ten Years Later. Ron Haviv, Allan Weitz, and Lauren Walsh John Harris   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 09/01/2017
On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we continue our exploration of photographic collaboration with photojournalists Ben Lowy and Marvi Lacar. In addition to sharing a vocation, they also share two children and a life together. Photojournalism is a decidedly independent, at times dangerous, career, certainly not one known for a routine home life, but when domestic responsibilities and children enter the picture, how does a couple balance craft and career with the need to earn a living and the time needed to nurture relationships? More so, when both people are working in the same field, how does bolstering one career cross the line into debilitating the other and how do the individuals comprising a creative couple find ways to support each other’s efforts? Lowy and Lacar bring an animated humor and a willingness to talk about the difficult moments from their lives and careers, and explain how they have come to recognize their best personal and professional attributes, bringing those strengths into a working relationship that continues to evolve. Guests: Marvi Lacar and Ben Lowy From the series "Melting Pot," Marvi Lacar From the series "Melting Pot," Marvi Lacar From the series "U.S. Bases," Marvi Lacar From the series "U.S. Bases," Marvi Lacar From “This Is a Love Story,” Marvi Lacar From “This Is a Love Story,” Marvi Lacar 2004 Democratic National Convention, Ben Lowy Protest at 2004 Republican National Convention, Ben Lowy Iraq Perspectives #1, Ben Lowy Iraq perspectives, #2, Ben Lowy Wounded soldier, Iraq, Ben Lowy Ski Jumper, Sochi, 2014, Ben Lowy Speed Skater, Sochi, 2014, Ben Lowy Great White Shark, 2016, Ben Lowy Seal, 2016, Ben Lowy Ben Lowy and Marvi Lacar at B&H Photography Podcast, 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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Posted 07/21/2017
When you get a chance to speak with an expert, you take advantage. At this year’s OPTIC 2017 Conference, when Lance Keimig and Chris Nicholson passed by our mobile studio, we did just that. Keimig is an author, instructor, and above all, a photographer who specializes in night photography. Well before digital technology made photographing the Milky Way an easy endeavor, Keimig was experimenting with film stock and developing processes to create long-exposure images. He is currently an instructor at National Parks at Night and along with Nicholson, offers workshops in night photography at many US National Parks. On today’s episode, we speak with Keimig and Nicholson about the differences between creating night photography with film and with digital cameras. There are obviously many modes and functions on a digital camera that make night photography simpler, but at the heart of the enterprise, is the process the same? We ask this question and discuss techniques used with film and the advantages that accompany digital cameras. We also ask, “What is night photography?” and “What are the charms that keep these two photographers interested in this specific discipline?” Listen as Keimig provides insight into the history of night photography and Nicholson discusses his shooting methods and ideas on composition that he applies while working in national parks. Guests: Lance Keimig and Chris Nicholson Click here if you missed our episode,  Night Photography—Exploring the Creative Possibilities. Click here for Jill Waterman’s article on Lance Keimig’s switch from Canon to Nikon equipment. Film photograph, Lance Keimig Film photograph, Lance Keimig Film photograph, Lance Keimig Film photograph, Lance Keimig Film photograph, Lance Keimig Digital photograph, Lance Keimig Digital photograph, Lance Keimig Blue Ridge Parkway, Chris Nicholson Cape Cod National Seashore, Chris Nicholson Death Valley National Park, Chris Nicholson Joshua Tree National Park, Chris Nicholson Mount Rainier National Park, Chris Nicholson Olympic National Park, Chris Nicholson 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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Posted 06/23/2017
On August 21, 2017 there will be a total solar eclipse passing across the United States from the northwest to the southeast. While the path of totality will be in the center of the country, at least 60% obscuration will be seen throughout the U.S. and into Canada and Mexico. This is a historic event and millions of people will be viewing and photographing it. On today’s episode, we will discuss the what, when, and where of the eclipse and concentrate on the best and safest ways to view and photograph it. Joining us for this discussion are Senior Staff Writer Christopher Witt, our in-house telescope and optics expert, and B&H Photography Podcast veteran Todd Vorenkamp, who will explore the best ways for novices as well as experts to view and photograph the eclipse. After a break, we welcome noted astronomer and photographer Dr. Tyler Nordgren who will offer his thoughts on the eclipse and explain why it might be best to not photograph this eclipse. Finally, we will be joined by Dr. Laura Peticolas from the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. Laura will discuss her plans for the eclipse, specifically discussing the Eclipse Megamovie project, a crowd-sourcing effort to collect and share images across the path of totality. Join us for a multi-faceted conversation about this once-in-a-lifetime event. Guests: Dr. Tyler Nordgren, Dr. Laura Peticolas, Christopher Witt, Todd Vorenkamp Route of 2017 solar eclipse across United States Global map of 2017 solar eclipse The 2013 eclipse as seen from the deck of a four-masted sailing ship racing across the Atlantic Ocean, totality was 42 seconds long. Photograph by Tyler Nordgren My first eclipse photo that I took in 1999 superimposed on the Hungarian stamp I bought there commemorating the eclipse by showing its path across the country. Photograph by Tyler Nordgren A petroglyph in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico showing what could be a 1000 year old solar eclipse. Photograph by Tyler Nordgren A partial phase of an eclipse just a minute or two before totality in the Faroe Islands. Those clouds totally socked us all in 30 seconds before totality so we saw nothing. Photograph by Tyler Nordgren The 2012 partial solar eclipse in San Diego, California with approximately 76% obscuration. Photograph by Todd Vorenkamp The sun photographed with a 50mm lens on a full frame camera with Mylar white light solar filter. Photograph by Todd Vorenkamp The sun photographed with a 300mm lens on an APS-C sensor camera with Mylar white light solar filter. Photograph by Todd Vorenkamp The sun photographed with a 300mm lens on APS-C sensor camera using a DayStar Camera Quark Hydrogen-alpha filter. Photograph by Todd Vorenkamp Photographing the sun with a 300mm lens on APS-C sensor camera using a DayStar Camera Quark Hydrogen-alpha filter and iOptron Sky Guider Pro Tracking Mount Mylar white light filter. Photograph by Todd Vorenkamp Digiscoping with iPhone and Skywatcher Virtuoso Telescope with Motorized Mount and Carson HookUpz 2.0. Photograph by Christopher Witt Prime-focus solar photography through a Sky Watcher Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope with Canon DSLR, on Sky Watcher Virtuoso motorized mount. Photograph by Christopher Witt 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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Posted 09/08/2016
In Part II of our series on astrophotography, we talk with Ian Norman, founder of Lonely Speck, a site dedicated to making astrophotography easy and accessible to all photographers. The website is loaded with great advice, gear reviews, and simple tutorials on how to photograph the night sky and specifically, the Milky Way. Our conversation with Ian centers on his development as a photographer and provides many tips on how, with very affordable equipment and apps and basic processing, you can create stunning dark sky images. As you will hear, Norman, like his website, is all about sharing experiences and advice on how to simplify and improve your photography. As he says, “there are few photographs that have as much existential impact as a nighttime landscape against the Milky Way.” Join us for this educational and inspirational episode. Guests: Ian Norman Photo: Ian Norman, LonelySpeck.com Last week's episode, Shooting Stars, Part I – Imaging from the Hubble Telescope Trona Pinnacles looking south with Milky Way Lone Pinnacle, Pinnacles National Park and Milky Way Eastern Sierras by moonlight and the Milky Way Milky Way and Alabama Hills Diana Southern and the Heavens Above Her Diana Southern, Allan Weitz, and Ian Norman Don't miss an episode! Subscribe on iTunes;   Stitcher; and  Google Play         Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 09/02/2016
In the first of our two-part series on astrophotography, we are fortunate to be joined by two scientists responsible for some of the most awe-inspiring images ever created. Astrophysicist Dr. Jeff Hester was a member of the team that built the camera on the Hubble Space Telescope and is credited with taking the “Pillars of Creation,” an extraordinary image of the Eagle Nebula that has been selected by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential photographs in history. Dr. Hester tells us about his time working on the Hubble and how this image was created, as well as offering his insight on the nature of beauty and the relationship between science and art (Hint: They’re not as different as you might think.) Also participating in our conversation is Zoltan Levay, the Imaging Team Leader at the Space Telescope Science Institute, whose principal responsibility is to produce and publicize pictures from the Hubble. Mr. Levay discusses the relative nature of color, his techniques for coloring and composing photographs, and the differences between the images that come to him as “data” from the telescope and the published images with which we are more familiar. Again, science and art blend as we ask why certain colors are chosen to represent various celestial bodies, and come to realize that the decisions made and processes used in the top tiers of astrophotography are not that different from those we ourselves make in our own post-processing. Guests: Zoltan Levay and Dr. Jeff Hester Next week’s episode, Shooting Stars, Part II- Deep Sky DIY The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the individual guests and do not necessarily represent the views of B&H Photo. Bubble Nebula NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) The “Pillars of Creation” from the Eagle Nebula NASA, ESA, STScI, J. Hester and P. Scowen (Arizona State University) Carina Nebula Mosaic NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) Galaxy Cluster Abell 2744 NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz (STScI) Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300 NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) Image Processing Workflow Image Courtesy of Zoltan Levay and STScI Don't miss an episode! Subscribe on iTunes;   Stitcher; and  Google Play         Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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