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Posted 06/03/2021
Every now and again there are conversations that flow and sparkle; they seem laden with professional insights and creative gems. Our chat with photographer Mona Kuhn is one, and perhaps it’s Kuhn’s self-awareness, her quiet confidence, and an ability to articulate her motivations that make it so. There are few who will disagree that her visual stories, her portraits, nudes, landscapes, and photo essays are among the most assured in contemporary photography, and on this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast we just revel in her good humor and willingness to share process. We speak a good deal about Kuhn’s new book Mona Kuhn: Works, and how it distills twenty years of an evolving career without ever seeming like a “retrospective.” We discuss editing strategies for this and previous books, how she created her intimate series, and why the sustained connections and relationships with her subjects are, to Kuhn, the most successful results of her extremely well-regarded work. As mentioned, she is very generous with her thoughts on photography, on how she used photo techniques to avoid the “gratuitous presence of the nude” and that the human figures she photographs are used to communicate “beyond just what you see.” She also references the work of Mike Disfarmer, how the square Hasselblad format forced her to be creative when photographing the “rectangular” human body. In the second half of the program, we cover aspects of her commissioned work and the satisfaction of being spontaneous in editorial work and of exercising the “problem-solving side of your brain” in the commercial sphere. We also discuss the differences between stories told in a book compared to a gallery, how she is comfortable on a monitor using Lightroom, but her book edits need to be printed and arranged physically to cull and order into “visual sentences.” Finally, Kuhn offers a very nuanced thought on the meaning of her personal images, encouraging “a dialogue of meanings” and noting that sometimes "quiet images last longer.” Join us for this delightful chat and have a look at Kuhn’s other new book, Study, from TBW Books. Guest: Mona Kuhn Photograph © Mona Kuhn Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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Posted 04/22/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we focus on the work of photographer Todd Webb and, specifically, the series of images he created in Africa in 1958, while on assignment for the United Nations. We are joined by Betsy Evans Hunt, the Executive Director of the Todd Webb Archive, and by Aimée Bessire and Erin Hyde Nolan, coauthors of the new book, Todd Webb in Africa—Outside the Frame. With our guests, we discuss the photographic career of Todd Webb, including his work in New York and Paris in the 1940s and 1950s, and the founding and mission of the Todd Webb Archive. Our primary topic, however, is the rediscovery (in a steamer trunk) and eventual archiving and publishing of Webb’s photographs taken in several African nations over the course of a multi-month assignment organized by the United Nations. The images are notable not only for their fateful recovery but for their large and medium format color composition and intelligent eye; they tell a vibrant story of Africa at a moment between colonization and independence. With authors Bessire and Nolan, we discuss the making of their book, which is both a photography book of unique vision and a multifaceted study of the images themselves, with essays and interviews providing historical context and cultural and artistic analysis. Join us for this conversation on the work of an overlooked 20th-century master photographer and on a sweeping series of color photos that sat unseen for almost 60 years. Guests: Betsy Evans Hunt, Aimée Bessire, and Erin Hyde Nolan Photograph © Todd Webb Cover, “Todd Webb in Africa – Outside the Frame” © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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Posted 03/18/2021
Eye-catching and grotesque are words not often placed together, but those accurate descriptors are part of the charm and beauty in the still life and food photography of Emma Ressel. Ressel joins us on this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast to talk about her work, which takes inspiration from, among other things, Dutch Master paintings and her own upbringing in Maine. We discuss with Ressel the evolution of her work and how she attempts to balance the genres of food photography and still life. Many of her images contain aspects of decay and death, and in her personal fine art photography, food is one way to address these topics. She also is a commercial photographer of food, wine, and still life work commissioned by New York Magazine, Refinery29, and other publications and clients. Ressel works with both a 4 x 5" Toya medium format film camera and with a Nikon DSLR, and we find out how and why she chooses which system to utilize. We also talk about her varied lighting choices and how she came to food photography not knowing much about professional workflows and food stylists and how that may have helped her define her look. She is very hands-on with her work, and we discuss sourcing items as diverse as coral snakes and pig’s heads. We also consider issues of waste and overconsumption and how her work attempts to deal with those ideas within an industry that uses food for purposes not directly related to human sustenance. Ressel also tells us about an inspiring artists residency in which she tackled the subject of a decaying whale carcass. This is a very well-rounded conversation, at ease discussing the technical issues of using a view camera as easily as literary inspiration, and how to walk the fine line between working as a commercial food photographer and pushing the genre to uncomfortable new places. Join us for a listen and have a look at Ressel’s Artfare page to see her larger prints. Guest: Emma Ressel Photograph © Emma Ressel From “Trouble in the Garden” © Emma Ressel From “Trouble in the Garden” © Emma Ressel From “Trouble in the Garden” © Emma Ressel From “Olives in the Street” © Emma Ressel From “Olives in the Street” © Emma Ressel From “Olives in the Street” © Emma Ressel From “Insatiable Hunger and the Peacock’s Plume” © Emma Ressel Commission for New York Magazine © Emma Ressel Commission for Wines of Sicily/Refinery29 © Emma Ressel © Emma Ressel Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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Posted 01/28/2021
Photography has long been used as a tool to explore and analyze history, but in the hands of an artist, that same tool is not asked to be exacting or accurate to the historical record. If anything, artists challenge this idea of photography as fact. And for this reason, it is such a pleasure to welcome artist and photographer Barbara Mensch to the B&H Photography Podcast. Mensch has created a book of history by using photographs she took as an artist. Having lived in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge for many years, she photographed the bridge in varied light and perspective, but it was not until she ventured inside the bridge's anchorage that she become interested in using her photographic story as the basis for a researched and nuanced study of the three principle creators of the Brooklyn Bridge. The book, In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators, is the successful result of her work, and we talk with Mensch about reevaluating older work, the endurance needed to complete a long project, the ability of photography to tell stories, and about square format and Hasselblad. In the second half of the program, we take up Mensch’s current book project, which also re-addresses earlier work, in this case from her wonderful series on the workers of the South Street Seaport or, as it was then called, the “waterfront.” Here we discuss the intrapersonal skills needed to photograph in authentic, yet potentially dangerous situations, the creative and youthful zeal that fuels such projects, and even about Bergger photography paper. Join us for this engaging conversation. Guest: Barbara Mensch Photographs © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch Klebber’s Murder © Barbara Mensch Child in Shoe Bin, Lower East Side © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 11/26/2020
What a treat to welcome photographer Ami Vitale to the B&H Photography Podcast. Vitale is mustering her high profile as a National Geographic photographer, as well as the talents of eighty-nine other incredible photographers, to raise funds for Conservation International. The Prints for Nature Sale runs until December 10, 2020 and offers gorgeous gallery-quality prints at a very affordable price. Please check this link for more information and to support this worthy initiative. We also speak with Vitale about her career trajectory and commitment to telling the stories of endangered species and the humans around them. We discuss her work photographing Sudan, the last male white rhinoceros in existence, and her incredible series about pandas in China. We also ask Vitale how she bridges the gap (or perceived gap) between journalism and advocacy photography and about her commitment to long-term engagement with the stories she covers. Vitale also addresses the changing dynamics of print journalism and the need to find funding for her projects, and we briefly mention her work as a Nikon ambassador. The dearth of tourism to many protected wildlife parks around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic has brought conservation efforts to a crisis point and the Prints for Nature Sale, with images by Art Wolfe, Steve Winter, Pete McBride, Alison Wright (all past guests of the podcast) and many other great photographers, is a way that lovers of wildlife and of photography can help. Guest: Ami Vitale Photograph © Ami Vitale Photograph © Ami Vitale Photograph © Ami Vitale Photograph © Ami Vitale Photograph © Ami Vitale Photograph © Anand Varma, from the Prints for Nature Sale Photograph © David Doubilet, from the Prints for Nature Sale Photograph © Jody MacDonald, from the Prints for Nature Sale Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 10/22/2020
In the 1970s, under the aegis of the Great Society’s Model Cities Program, photographer Earlie Hudnall, Jr. began to document the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Houston’s 3rd, 4th, and 5th wards, and for more than forty years he has continued to create an indelible portrait of life in these neighborhoods. To be sure, Hudnall has photographed all around the world, and worked for years as the photographer for Texas Southern University, but it is his images of the people of Houston that we discuss today, and that are included in his current exhibition at the Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery in Dallas, running through October 31, 2020. On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we talk with Hudnall about the relationship between the stories he tells with his images and those he grew up with in his native Mississippi; how the tradition, culture, and community of his youth reveal themselves in the faces and facades of modern Houston. We also talk about his organic approach to photography and how respect for his subjects informs his process, and how eye contact and body language are tools to connect with people on the street. Hudnall is old school—he works with digital cameras when needed—but his Hasselblad and Nikon film cameras are his primary tools and he discusses why he chooses one over the other to make a particular image. Hudnall also prints his photographs, so we talk about sourcing supplies, Ilford paper, and darkroom techniques. And while we do get into camera talk and a “sweet, sweet, sweet, soft Rolleiflex,” much of our conversation with Hudnall focuses on how memory and inspiration react in a moment to create a powerful image and how staying sensitive to your surroundings will serve your imaging. It is a joy to listen to Hudnall; please join us for this conversation. Guest: Earlie Hudnall, Jr. Photograph © Earlie Hudnall, Jr. Mr. Shine, 3rd Ward, Houston, 1988 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Girl with Flag, 3rd Ward, Houston, 1991 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Hip Hop, Galveston, TX, 1993 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Looking Out, 3rd Ward, Houston, TX, 1991 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Feeling the Spirit, 3rd Ward, Houston, TX, 1987 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Boy Eastern Star, 3rd Ward, Houston, TX, 1984, © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, T Roots, 1997 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 07/22/2020
Whether photographing your own garden or the sculpted acreage of the Rockefellers, following the light and finding infinite new angles to present the flora is time well spent. That is the clear takeaway from this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast with photographer Larry Lederman. However, we also discuss practical tips on bracketing, histograms, tripods, and zoom lenses for medium format cameras. It really is a nice chat with a photographer who has found pleasure in photographing not only his own garden, but some of the most immaculate gardens, both public and private, on the East Coast. Lederman is the author of six books featuring his botanical and horticultural photography, including the upcoming Garden Portraits: Experiences of Natural Beauty, which will be published by The Monacelli Press on October 13, 2020 and is available for pre-order. He has photographed for the New York Botanical Garden and other famed gardens in the New York area and brings a perspective that, forgive me, sees the forest for the trees. He understands blending the universal with the personal and capturing his impression of the natural and designed beauty while also illustrating the unique essence that the gardener, landscape architect, or owner has created. Largely self-taught as a photographer, Lederman discusses his transition from using Leica M system cameras to the Nikon D850 and the Pentax 645Z system. We also talk about his preference for zoom lenses, the relationship he feels between architecture and landscape photography, his technique when approaching a new space, and the need to return to a garden in all four seasons, often starting in winter, in order to fully understand and depict these spaces that are both natural and human-made. Join us for this informative chat and let us know in the Comments section the tricks and techniques you use to photograph the gardens in your life. Also join Larry Lederman as he leads a webinar for B&H on October 28, 2020. Guest: Larry Lederman Photograph © Larry Lederman The Beckoning Path, Armonk, NY. Mirrored fall colors. © Larry Lederman Hawks Nest, Chappaqua, NY. A hedge of forsythia that burst into brilliant yellow bloom in early spring. © Larry Lederman Hawks Nest, Chappaqua, NY. Winter reveals the structure of the Rose Garden. © Larry Lederman Hawks Nest, Chappaqua, NY. Fall leaves over the falling brook. © Larry Lederman Glimcher Garden, Long Island, NY. This work by Zhang Huan playfully commands the landscape. © Larry Lederman Innisfree, Millbrook, NY. Pond in a stand of conifers. © Larry Lederman Japanese Garden at Kykuit, Pocantico Hills, NY. © Larry Lederman Merrin Garden, Cortlandt Manor, NY. © Larry Lederman Brubeck Garden, Wilton, CT. A Japanese-style gate sets the tone of the garden and its surrounding planting. © Larry Lederman Cover art from “Garden Portraits: Experiences of Natural Beauty” by Larry Lederman, published by The Monacelli Press, 2020 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 07/20/2018
Anecdotes with insight are an important part of any good conversation, and we certainly heard some wonderful anecdotes from our guests at the OPTIC 2018 Conference. For today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we have cherry-picked a few stories from our conversations with Brian Smith, Seth Resnick, Vincent Versace, and Simon Lewis and have added a segment with Panasonic Marketing Manager Darin Pepple to round out the episode. Brian Smith is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning photographer most recognized for celebrity portraiture, but his work comfortably crosses all genres and his list of awards is impressive, including a World Press Photo Award. He is a Sony Artisan of Imagery, Profoto Legend of Light, Adobe Influencer, and X-Rite Master Coloratti. As a luxury lifestyle, destination, food, architecture, and interior photographer, Simon Lewis also understands that versatility is a crucial component to being a successful freelance photographer and, as his anecdote makes clear, some tenacity helps, too. His clients include Aman Resorts, Amazon, JetBlue, Ralph Lauren, Bon Appetit, Prada, and John Varvatos. Seth Resnick can do it all (I’m seeing a trend) and the graphic nature of his work and bold use of color and form make him in-demand across the editorial, travel, commercial, and fine art photography worlds. Chosen by Photo District News as one of the 30 most influential photographers of the decade, he was an original Canon “Explorer of Light,” consults for Adobe, X-Rite, and Epson, is an Ilford “Master” and is co-founder of D-65, a digital workflow consultancy. A few of our guests’ anecdotes were prompted by Allan Weitz’s “rabbit out of a hat” question but, with Vincent Versace, we were captivated and laughing too hard to even get to the question. Versace’s insight on photography comes from a range of disciplines and we learn how acting and some serious common sense influence his work. He is a Nikon Ambassador, recipient of the Smithsonian Award in Media Arts & Entertainment and his photography books, tutorials, and workshops are very popular. After a short break, we speak with Darin Pepple, Consumer Marketing Manager at Panasonic, about Lumix cameras, the evolution of the GH series, and the unique interaction between Lumix photographers and the product developers who continue to improve this innovative camera line. Guests: Brian Smith, Simon Lewis, Seth Resnick, Vincent Versace, and Darin Pepple Kelsey Grammer © Brian Smith Anne Hathaway © Brian Smith Taraji Henson © Brian Smith William H. Macy © Brian Smith © Seth Resnick © Seth Resnick © Seth Resnick © Seth Resnick from “Burma: The Last Page of the 19th Century” © Vincent Versace from “The Journey is the Destination” (India) © Vincent Versace Cuba © Vincent Versace Cuba © Vincent Versace © Simon Lewis © Simon Lewis © Simon Lewis © Simon Lewis Vincent Versace © 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 04/13/2018
The “Day to Night” series that Stephen Wilkes has been working on for several years has received much-deserved attention and has grown from its New York roots to encompass locations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. These photographs, which capture a full 24-hour cycle in one frame are awe-inspiring when viewed as a whole; fascinating when analyzed in detail, and monumental when considered as a production. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes, his wife, business manager, and the behind-the-scenes producer of these incredible photographs. Our conversation is easy-going and bounces back and forth between Mr. and Ms. Wilkes, emphasizing their intertwined working relationship. With Mr. Wilkes, we speak of the genesis of the project and the influences he finds in the paintings of the Dutch Masters and the Hudson River School. We also discuss his process, which is both physically and technically demanding. He speaks of a desire to “get lost” in the moment and ultimately how his images are “a representation of his memory” from the day and place. With Ms. Wilkes, we speak of the knotty and time-consuming process of arranging a shoot that will last more than twenty-four continuous hours in some of the world’s busiest and most desolate locations. We discuss many photographs, but concentrate on two images from the “Day to Night” series to highlight their complicated productions—the first is a photograph of New York City’s Flatiron Building and, in the second half of the show, we visit a watering hole in the Serengeti Plain. To see these images, please visit our website, and, if you are in Washington D.C. prior to April 29, 2018, check out the “Day to Night” exhibit at the National Geographic Museum, and keep your eye out for the upcoming book, to be published by Taschen. Guests: Stephen Wilkes and Bette Wilkes The Highline, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Times Square, New York City © Stephen Wilkes The Flatiron Building, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Coney Island, New York City © Stephen Wilkes Santa Monica Pier © Stephen Wilkes The Western Wall, Jerusalem © Stephen Wilkes Inauguration Day, 2013, Washington D.C. © Stephen Wilkes Yosemite National Park, California © Stephen Wilkes Serengeti National Park, Tanzania © Stephen Wilkes The Grand Canyon © Stephen Wilkes Regata Storica, Venice, Italy © Stephen Wilkes Stephen Wilkes © John Harris Bette Wilkes © John Harris Stephen and Bette Wilkes © John Harris Bette Wilkes, Allan Weitz, and Stephen Wilkes © John Harris Previous Pause Next DON'T MISS AN EPISODE SUBSCRIBE NOW:   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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