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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 04/29/2021
It’s Macro Photo Week at the Explora blog and you’ll find many helpful articles and videos about the tools, techniques, and practitioners of macro photography. On the podcast, however, we go deeper than macro, like 1000x deeper—our conversation is with geologist, gemologist, and microscopist Nathan Renfro, of the Gemological Institute of America. Renfro is a renowned photomicrographer, and his images of the interiors of gems, with their unique inclusions and imperfect perfections, are stunning color abstractions of the natural world. With Renfro we speak about the art, craft, and science of photomicrography—using microscopes to make photos—and how he documents the inner life of a stone. Renfro got his start in gemology thanks to the collection of rocks and gems his grandfather, a miner from North Carolina, left to him. From this collection a fascination grew, ultimately taking him to GIA as a protégé of John Koivula, noted gemologist and author of the Photo Atlas of Gems series. Renfro himself has become one of the leading image makers in his field, and we discuss the tools and techniques he uses to create his work, including fiber optic lighting, focus stacking, and Differential Interference Contrast. We also discuss the surprisingly simple cameras that he uses, as well as the adapters, filters, and apps that enable his wonderful creations. We ask about the advantages that mirrorless photography holds for his craft, about the commercial and scientific applications of his work, and how traditional photography with a standard zoom lens has improved his understanding of composition and color, thus benefiting his photomicrography. Join us for this exploration deep into microverses, which are as complex and unique as any place on Earth or beyond. Guest: Nathan Renfro Photograph © Nathan Renfro Today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast was produced using Audio-Technica  microphones. Amethyst © Nathan Renfro Arkansas Quartz © Nathan Renfro Blue Diamond © Nathan Renfro Chrysoprase © Nathan Renfro New South Wales Sapphire © Nathan Renfro Greenland Diamond Trigons © Nathan Renfro Topaz © Nathan Renfro New South Wales Iris Agate © Nathan Renfro ZEISS microscope with Canon 6D DSLR © Nathan Renfro 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 03/11/2021
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 09/30/2020
It is important to be reminded of the power of photography to educate and explore, and to be a vehicle of self-expression, even self-realization. Equally crucial—through process and through memory—photography’s ability to bring people together, to share and to collaborate, is vital. On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome a photographer who has built her life’s work around this idea of education through creative collaboration. For more than forty years, Wendy Ewald has led documentary “investigations” and collaborative projects that encourage the participants to use cameras to examine their own lives, families, and communities, and to make images of their fantasies and dreams. During these projects, she also photographs—normally with a 4 x 5 camera—and then asks her students and subjects to manipulate her images and negatives, further engaging with the process and adding to the authorship of the final work. With support of the most prestigious fellowships, from universities, NGOs, even from camera and film manufacturers, Ewald has directed photography programs in South America, India, Africa, Canada and, most notably, in Appalachia. In the 1970s, Ewald worked with schools and the Appalshop media center to teach photography to children living in rural Kentucky and, in 1985, published the groundbreaking book Portraits and Dreams: Photographs and Stories by Children of the Appalachians. This book has been an inspiration to countless educators and community photographers and, this year, Mack Books has published an expanded edition, which includes updates on the lives of several of the original students. Ewald also has co-directed a documentary film on the project and the reunion with her former students, which recently aired on the PBS program POV. Join us as we speak with Ewald about teaching in Kentucky and elsewhere, about the power of collaboration and creative expression, and about reuniting with her former students and the making of her powerful documentary. Guest: Wendy Ewald Photograph © Wendy Ewald Russel Akemon: “I am lying on the back on my old horse,” from “Portraits and Dreams” by Wendy Ewald. Courtesy the artist and MACK Greg Cornett: Gary Crase and his mom and dad in front of their house on Campbells Branch,” from “Portraits and Dreams” by Wendy Ewald. Courtesy the artist and MACK Denise Dixon: “Self-portrait reaching for the Red Star sky,” from “Portraits and Dreams” by Wendy Ewald. Courtesy the artist and MACK Freddy Childers: “Self-portrait with the picture of my biggest brother, Everett, who killed himself when he came back from Vietnam,” from “Portraits and Dreams” by Wendy Ewald. Courtesy the artist and MACK Mary Jo Cornett: “Mamaw and my sister with the picture of my cousin that died,” from “Portraits and Dreams” by Wendy Ewald. Courtesy the artist and MACK. 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 04/17/2019
The first amateur photographic entity in the United States was the Amateur Photographic Exchange Club, New York City, which existed from 1861–1863. The oldest continuously extant camera club in the United States founded, at least in part, by amateurs is the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, founded in 1862. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast we talk about camera clubs and, specifically, the Coney Island School of Photography and Art, which, despite its pedagogic nomenclature, is an amateur camera club that takes the famed oceanfront community and amusement park in Brooklyn, New York, as its subject. For anyone who is familiar with Coney Island, it should be clear that photographing at this beach is less about sunsets and flamingoes and more about “polar bears,” freak shows, and street photography along the beach. We welcome three members of this camera club, Orlando Mendez, A.J. Bernstein, and Norman Blake, to discuss their personal photographic journeys, the benefits of having cohorts with whom to work and compare notes and, of course, the changing face of Coney Island itself. We also take time to talk about gear, technique, the different ways in which photographers will see the same subject, and the simple joy that photography can bring to our lives. Join us for this entertaining episode. Guests: A.J. Bernstein, Norman Blake, and Orlando Mendez © A.J. Bernstein © A.J. Bernstein © A.J. Bernstein © A.J. Bernstein © A.J. Bernstein © Orlando Mendez © Orlando Mendez © Orlando Mendez © Orlando Mendez © Orlando Mendez © Norman Blake © Norman Blake © Norman Blake © Norman Blake © Norman Blake © Norman Blake Filming of the 1979 movie, “The Warriors” © Norman Blake A.J. Bernstein, Allan Weitz, Orlando Mendez, and Norman Blake © John Harris Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 02/13/2019
The wedding-photography business is very competitive, so to have a distinct client base and a way to stand out from the crowd is crucial—almost necessary. On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we discuss niche wedding photography with three photographers who have forged a career path by photographing the weddings of a specific niche demographic. To be clear, each of these photographers shoot weddings for all ilks, but they have been able to distinguish themselves by embracing a specific market. We discuss how each of them discovered their photographic specialty, the importance of understanding traditions while balancing demands of new generations, specific tips for photographing within their areas of expertise, and how incorporating and embracing their own life stories helped find their career path. In the first half of the show, we are joined by Charmi Peña and Petronella Lugemwa, with whom we spoke at the 2019 Depth of Field Wedding and Portrait Conference. Peña is a Nikon Ambassador and a wedding and portrait photographer who specializes in photographing Indian weddings. Lugemwa runs a New York-based, international wedding photography studio whose embrace of “multi-cultural weddings” echoes her personal celebration of her cultural identity. After a break, we speak with portrait and wedding photographer Steven Rosen, who is featured in our “What is Photography?” series. His impeccable portraiture informs his wedding work, and our conversation concentrates on Rosen’s work photographing same-sex weddings. Join us for this compelling episode, which blends personal motivations with practical tips. Guests: Charmi Peña, Petronella Lugemwa, Steven Rosen © Charmi Peña © Charmi Peña © Charmi Peña © Charmi Peña © Charmi Peña © Petronella Photography © Petronella Photography © Petronella Photography © Petronella Photography © Petronella Photography © Steven Rosen © Steven Rosen © Steven Rosen © Steven Rosen © Steven Rosen Charmi Peña © John Harris Petronella Lugemwa and Allan Weitz © John Harris Steven Rosen, outtake from “What is Photography?” © Cory Rice Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 08/24/2018
Edvard Munch noted that “colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas” and, on today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we dip our brushes into the palette of art and color theory and, then, we explore practical (and beautiful) applications of color through the eyes of a documentarian and a fashion photographer. We start our conversation with photographer/artist/explorer Adam Marelli, who muses on color theory from a painter’s and a photographer’s point of view and endures our novice questions on the subject. We discuss a few basic terms, learn about Michel Chevreul, and then get into questions about his use of color, about film color compared to digital, printing, and Marelli’s understanding that colors are never static, and should not be considered such when creating images—look for the color between colors, he suggests. In the second half of the show, we welcome Natasha Wilson, a Los Angeles-based fashion and lifestyle photographer who imbues her work with the colors that dreams are made of. Whether bold and bright or with a muted palette, when you see her work, there will be no doubt why we thought of Wilson for this conversation. We ask her about her process, both behind a lens and in front of a monitor, and we discuss how she finds locations, picks her teams, and finds the balance between foreground and background colors—and between her artistic imagination and the client’s needs. Her laid-back approach belies the intensity of her vision. Guests: Adam Marelli and Natasha Wilson © Natasha Wilson © Natasha Wilson © Natasha Wilson © Natasha Wilson © Natasha Wilson © Natasha Wilson © Natasha Wilson © Natasha Wilson © Natasha Wilson © Adam Marelli © Adam Marelli © Adam Marelli © Adam Marelli © Adam Marelli © Adam Marelli Adam Marelli © John Harris Adam Marelli and Allan Weitz © 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 12/15/2017
From where do all the celebrity photos in People, Us Weekly, Vanity Fair, and other magazines come? They come from hard-working professional photographers plying their trade, and the agencies that distribute and license these images, of course. On today's episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we will discuss the nuts and bolts of working in the celebrity and fashion news business—from the point of view of the agency and of the photographer. There is no shortage of entertainment news photos, many of which are taken on the "red carpet" and through a collaborative network of celebrities, publicists, photographers, and agencies. Others, shot in less controlled settings, are a product of a photographer's instinct and dogged persistence. This type—for good or bad—we call paparazzi photos. Arranged portrait sessions, concerts, and press conferences can also fall into this category of celebrity "news" and our guests, having experience in all the above, will discuss the distinctions between these, as well as the ins and outs of making a living in this arena. We welcome Chris Doherty, founder and owner of Instar Images. With offices in New York, London, and Australia, Instar is one of the top independent agencies specializing in entertainment news and events. We also speak with photographer Jennifer Graylock of Graylock.com, recipient of the 2017 Top Red Carpet Photographer Award. In addition to her work for celebrity and corporate clients, her photos often grace the pages of People, TV Guide, InStyle, and Glamour magazines. We ask Doherty what agencies look for in a photographer and what makes a good celebrity image. We also discuss the varying clients he works with, Instar's website and archive, payment structures, and changes in the industry in the wake of smartphones and social media. Graylock brings the photographer's perspective and talks about gear choices, protocol within the "pen," protecting your copyright, and how to maintain relationships, get access, and stay "current."  Join us for this very informative episode. Guests: Chris Doherty and Jennifer Graylock Prince Harry and Meghan Markle © Doug Peters / Courtesy of Instar Images Jessica Biel © Lionel Hahn / Courtesy of Instar Images Nicole Kidman © Munawar Hosain /Courtesy of Instar Images Mick Jagger, Courtesy of Instar Images Paris Hilton © Karl Larsen / Courtesy of Instar Images Matt Lauer © Matt Agudo / Courtesy of Instar Images Adele © Jennifer Graylock-Graylock.com Jennifer Hough © Jennifer Graylock-Graylock.com Kate Middleton and Prince William © Jennifer Graylock-Graylock.com Jennifer Lopez © Jennifer Graylock-Graylock.com Furry fingernails, backstage at the Libertine fashion show © Jennifer Graylock-Graylock.com Cate Blanchett and Eddie Redmayne © Jennifer Graylock-Graylock.com Chris Doherty and Allan Weitz © 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 09/28/2017
If inspiration is what you are looking for, the story of how Eric Kruszewski became a photographer should supply you with plenty of it. Of course, it all starts with a personal desire but, planning, networking, hard work, and even a simple Google search like the eponymic one above, all go into the recipe for success. Photographs © Eric Kruszewski Taking up photography as a hobby in your thirties seems a commonplace occurrence, but deciding to change careers and become a working photographer is another story altogether. Join us as we speak with travel, editorial, and documentary photographer Eric Kruszewski about his journey from newbie to National Geographic. We talk about the value of workshops, mentors, cold calls, and persistence, and trace Eric’s career from its inauspicious beginnings through long-term personal projects, one-off jobs, artistic setbacks, learning new skills and, ultimately, a satisfying career—paying the bills by doing what he loves. Guest: Eric Kruszewski At India’s Jaisalmer Fort, a street performer walks a tightrope in a unique way—on her knees (with a metal plate) while pushing herself along only with her toes and balancing a vase of water on her head. Cowboys from across America gather at the Pendleton Roundup to prepare for its annual rodeo. From the series, “American Rodeo.” It is quite common that families travel together with the Davis Carnival. In camp, one woman observes her neighbors—a mother and daughter—through the window. From the series, “Behind the Ferris Wheel.” Richmond Shepard, a mime based in New York City, poses for a portrait in his studio. During the annual Military Tattoo in Edinburgh, Scotland, a motorcycle stunt driver takes off amongst fireworks. The performance is held for about three weeks, with the Edinburgh Castle as a backdrop. A woman walks through a mirror maze, part of the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions exhibits in Edinburgh's Old Town. Chris Turner poses for a portrait in his childhood neighborhood of Northeast Washington, D.C. Chris was one of several people accused of the murder of Catherine Fuller in 1984. He served 26 years in prison and maintains his innocence. At the Elephant Conservation Center in Laos, a mahout (elephant trainer) jumps between two elephants. He stuck the landing. Andreas Georgiou, a Greek economist, poses for a portrait in his United States home A young girl dons a costume inside the Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia. She dresses in costume to pose for photos with visitors. 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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