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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 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 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 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 08/21/2020
We present a fun and insightful conversation on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, perhaps due to the Midwestern charm of photographer Julie Blackmon and the enjoyable discussion of her wonderful tableaux vivants of family life in middle America. We also welcome back to the show gallery owner Robert Mann, who is currently hosting an exhibit of Blackmon’s photographs titled Talent Show. Mann was a guest on our show, in 2018, when we spoke about the work of Australian photographer Murray Fredericks. The medium format compositions of Julie Blackmon infuse innocent playtime with a creeping sense of danger to create works with a wonderful dark humor. There is also a welcome DIY spirit to her work, and we talk about the creation of her photos and the involvement of her own family and friends in the images; even photos that have up to twenty-five subjects are produced and organized with her sisters and fellow parents.  She is hands-on in all aspects of the work, including making the large prints herself. We also talk about her use of the Hasselblad H system and how she combines wide angle and normal perspectives in her detailed final prints. After a break, Robert Mann takes the lion’s share of the questions as we discuss the many challenges faced by photography galleries. In addition to the expense of a brick and mortar gallery and the proliferation of online viewing and sales, the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the idea of a public art gallery.  Mann relates the decision to close his Chelsea gallery and receive collectors on a by-appointment basis, as well as his thoughts on creating editions and limiting prints and the general state of the fine art photo market. Join us for this enlightening four-way conversation as we gain insight from the perspective of the artist and the gallerist. Guests: Julie Blackmon and Robert Mann Photograph © Julie Blackmon River, 2020 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Baby Toss, 2009 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Stock Tank, 2012 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Talent Show, 2019 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Outing, 2019 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Spray Paint, 2020 © Julie Blackmon, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 05/19/2020
As an industry and as a hobby, the numbers indicate that drone flying and drone photography are still primarily the domain of men, but sustaining this disparity is ridiculous and it should and will change. Our two guests today are part of bringing about that change, and they do so by being good at their craft, by spreading the joy of flying, and teaching drone operation and photography to women and girls. Our first guest today is an Emmy Award-winning camerawoman for CBS News and F.A.A. licensed drone pilot Carmaine Means, who incorporates quadcopter footage into her news coverage and, of course, flies for fun. After a break, we are joined by Yasmin Tajik, a documentary photographer and F.A.A. licensed drone operator who is also the Brand Ambassador Director for the educational and advocacy group Women Who Drone. We get to know the work of each guest, asking Means how and when she decides to use aerial footage in a news segment, what her personal guidelines are for launching a drone, and what the planning stage is like with her producers. We also talk about the value of certain aerial shots in telling a story, about the equipment she uses, and handling the drones in various conditions. Currently, she flies with a DJI Phantom and an Inspire. With Yasmin Tajik, we mention the Federal Aviation Administration licensing process and she recommends the FAA Drone Zone as a good place to start. We also ask her about using drones in documentary work and some of the restrictions placed on flying in the U.S. and other countries. As a resident of Arizona, she discusses some of the advantages of flying in that state, as well as unique guidelines they have established. We also speak about how she learned to fly after initially being hesitant, the work done by Women Who Drone, and taking her Tello Quadcopter into schools and the interest it generates from the next generation of flyers. Tajik also points to the many industries and services that are incorporating drones and the growing opportunities available for licensed pilots, but we don’t forget to talk about the joy she gets by using her DJI Mavic 2 to provide a perspective on the world that our land-based cameras can never match. Join us for this enjoyable and inspirational conversation and if you are a female drone flyer, we’d love to hear your experiences and see your images. Guests: Carmaine Means and Yasmin Tajik Photograph © Yasmin Tajik​ © Yasmin Tajik © Yasmin Tajik © Yasmin Tajik © Yasmin Tajik © Yasmin Tajik © Yasmin Tajik © Yasmin Tajik Courtesy Yasmin Tajik © Carmaine Means © Carmaine Means © Carmaine Means Courtesy Carmaine Means Carmaine Means © Phillip Dembinsky Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 10/07/2019
“A wiser feller than myself once said, ‘Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear, well, he eats you.’” A few of our listeners may recognize this quote from a certain 1998 movie but, for others, well, it may just be a confusing adage. For today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, however, we did indeed “eat the bear” and are very fortunate to welcome actor, musician, and photographer Jeff Bridges to our show. In addition to being an Academy Award-winning actor, Bridges photographs the “behind-the-scenes” making of his movies with a Widelux swing-lens panoramic film camera, and over the years has collected those images in private editions, made for the cast and crew. In 2003, he published a book called, Jeff Bridges: Pictures, and in October 2019, is releasing the incredible Jeff Bridges: Pictures Volume 2, which “expands on Bridges' intimate vision of Hollywood behind-the-scenes. Included within are rare looks at the famed actors, top directors, talented costumers, and makeup artists, skilled and creative set and art decoration, and the rest of the passionate crews involved in such memorable movies as True Grit, Crazy Heart, The Giver, TRON: Legacy, and Hell or High Water. ” With Bridges, we discuss his affinity for the Widelux, and how he handles this camera—known for its idiosyncrasies. We relate the nuts-and-bolts aspects of his workflow, from using the viewfinder (or not) to measuring exposure with a Minolta spot meter, to how he composes a frame with a 140-degree angle of view. We also discuss other wide-format cameras, how Bridges works on set with other actors and crew members, the creation of his new book, and the scope of his photographic work, which has become a unique documentation of movie-making from the 1980s until today. Join us for this lively conversation and look for Jeff Bridges: Pictures Volume 2, published by powerHouse Books and distributed by Penguin Random House. All of Bridge’s proceeds from the sale of his book go to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, a nonprofit organization that offers charitable care and support to film-industry workers. When you visit his website, check the link for No Kid Hungry, an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger and for which Bridges is the national spokesperson. Finally, if you are in the Los Angeles area on October 15, take the opportunity to have Jeff sign your copy of his book at the Book Soup event, on Sunset Blvd. Guest: Jeff Bridges Above photograph © Jeff Bridges George Clooney, Tragedia/Comedia, "The Men Who Stare at Goats," 2009 © Jeff Bridges Iron Man Suit, "Iron Man," 2008 © Jeff Bridges Stan Winston’s Workshop, "Iron Man," 2008 © Jeff Bridges Stephen Bruton, Songwriter, "Crazy Heart," 2009 © Jeff Bridges Jack Nation, "Crazy Heart," 2009 © Jeff Bridges Gary Ross, Director, and Tobey Maguire, "Seabiscuit," 2003 © Jeff Bridges Claudio Miranda and Olivia Wilde, "Tron: Legacy," 2010 © Jeff Bridges Loyd Catlett, "Seventh Son," 2014 © Jeff Bridges "Scenes of the Crime," 2001 © Jeff Bridges Jodelle Ferland, Tragedia/Comedia, "Tideland," 2005 © Jeff Bridges Jeff Bridges, "True Grit," 2010 © Jeff Bridges Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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