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Posted 09/16/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome the founder and Executive Director of the Social Documentary Network, Glenn Ruga, and photographer Sofia Aldinio, who is the recipient of the 2021 ZEKE Award for Documentary Photography, presented by the Social Documentary Network. As should be clear, our conversation today revolves around the Social Documentary Network, or “SDN,” and we learn about this community of documentary photographers and its website on which more than three thousand documentary series have been uploaded and are available for viewing. Ruga tells of the evolution of the site since its 2008 inception, and how adding classes, awards, portfolio reviews, and, most important, the online and print magazine ZEKE has led to the growth of this platform, which is open to all photographers. Our chat also draws from Ruga’s photography work and thoughts on documentary, in general. In the second half of the show we speak with Aldinio, a past guest, about “Awake in the Desert Land,” her photo series that received the ZEKE prize. Aldinio tells of the circumstances that brought her to Baja California, Mexico, during 2020 and this intimate series on village communities affected by climate change. We also speak with Aldinio about her working methods, about shelving her normal Canon system for a more stealth FUJIFILM, about making relationships with subjects, and the feedback and support she received from her SDN workshop leaders. We wrap by previewing the Social Documentary Network events and exhibits at Photoville 2021 and Aldinio’s presentation on her award-winning series. Guests: Sofia Aldinio and Glenn Ruga Photograph © Sofia Aldinio The cover and two interior spreads from the upcoming Fall, 2021 issue of ZEKE Magazine. Courtesy The Social Documentary Network “The newest cemetery in San Jose de Gracia, Baja California, Mexico, January 17, 2021. The small community has at least four different cemeteries generationally identified. The town lost most of its population after Hurricane Lester in 1992, the biggest storm the community has faced in its history. Since 2006, the community has lost 60 members and has a population of 12 today. “Awake in the Desert Land” “Awake in the Desert Land” “Awake in the Desert Land” “Awake in the Desert Land” “Belonging” “Belonging” “Belonging” “Belonging” Previous Pause Next Sofia Aldinio Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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Posted 09/09/2021
What do the films Goodfellas, The Devil Wears Prada, Creed, Ocean’s 8, and Die Hard with a Vengeance have in common? The poster art, publicity, and behind-the-scenes photography for these and about one hundred other feature films were made by photographer Barry Wetcher, and we welcome Wetcher to this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast. On-set still photography or, simply, “still photography” is one of the more unique jobs found under the big tent that is photography. The skills needed to excel in this work incorporate abilities from many photographic genres. Portraiture, documentary, news, action, and still life talents are all called upon to create the images needed for varied purposes, but perhaps the most important skill is the ability to understand the many moving parts and dynamic personalities of a film shoot and to find a way to be everywhere but nowhere at the same time. With Wetcher, we talk about the specific demands of the craft, about the evolution of gear from film to DSLR and, ultimately, to mirrorless (Nikon and FUJIFILM, in Wetcher’s case), and mostly about how to best navigate the world of producers, directors, cinematographers, and actors to create the seemingly ephemeral but truly indelible images of movie history. We also find time to ask Wetcher about some of the legendary actors and directors he has photographed over the years. Join us for this enjoyable and informative chat with Wetcher and, as it turns out, his “Brooklyn Brother,” host Allan Weitz. Guest: Barry Wetcher Photograph © Barry Wetcher Chadwick Boseman in “Marshall,” 2017 © Barry Wetcher/Open Road Films Human Green Screen from “I Am Legend,” 2007 © Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros. Pictures James Gandolfini in “Not Fade Away,” 2012 © Barry Wetcher/Paramount Vantage Joe Pesci in “GoodFellas,” 1990 © Barry Wetcher/ Warner Bros. Pictures 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 08/12/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome back an old friend of the show, photographer Mark Mann. Mann is known for a catalog of portrait work that includes celebrities, musicians, and politicians of the highest regard. In our previous episode with Mann, we discussed photographing Bill Murray, Jennifer Aniston, and President Obama, but like many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying quarantine not only put a halt to our normal photo routines, but forced us to rethink how and why we make photographs. For Mann, this “rethinking” has brought forth a grand project that he created over the course of 2020 and takes dance―in all its many forms―as its subject. In this intimate and humorous conversation, we speak with Mann about reassessing his early career decisions, trying new techniques, and how he came to produce a series of portraits that included some of the most important contemporary dancers and legends of the art form. We discuss the cameras, lighting, and techniques that he utilized and how his normal approach to portraiture and even editing was set aside to create this series. We also speak with Mann about his other recent endeavor, the educational YouTube channel “Complicated Things,” which is designed to give photography enthusiasts insight into portrait technique and the “inner workings of the photo industry,” which Mann knows very well. Guest: Mark Mann Photograph © Cory Rice Mark Mann, 2019 Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C. Steiner
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Posted 08/10/2021
We have been looking forward to this conversation for weeks. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we sit down with retired Detective 1 st Grade Michael Cunningham, of the New York City Police Department, to talk about crime-scene unit photography. Cunningham is an expert on crime-scene photography and forensics—in addition to his twenty-seven years with the NYPD, he has worked as a trainer for the Department of Homeland Security, authored a book on crime-scene management, and currently works for ShotSpotter Investigate, an investigative case management solution service. We discuss the various aspects of crime-scene photography, from camera and lens selection to shooting technique, along with storage, retrieval, and sharing of images. We compare the use of film and digital imaging and the challenges and benefits brought on by new technology. In addition, we talk about photos used for case solving and those of evidentiary value and the different photography departments within the NYPD. Cunningham walks us through the procedures and shot selection of a photographer when approaching a crime scene, and the protocols involved when documenting it. He also regales us with a few stories of his many investigations during his years on the force. We would like to hear from our listeners about the B&H Photography Podcast. Please take a minute to complete this simple survey about listening habits and potential topics. Thank you, from the B&H Podcast team. Guest: Michael Cunningham Photograph: Courtesy of Michael Cunningham Photograph: Courtesy of Michael Cunningham Michael Cunningham and Allan Weitz. Photograph © John Harris 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 07/29/2021
Photographer Sally Davies embodies a beautiful creative spirit, and I think that spirit also resides in the homes of the 72 New Yorkers she photographed, who are included in her wonderful portrait book, appropriately titled, New Yorkers. If this spirit does not exist and Davies is not in tune with it, how could she have captured such wonderful stories of people and their places and done it so efficiently, in some cases in just minutes? We answer that question and many others as we welcome Davies to the B&H Photography Podcast to discuss the making of her new book. We are also joined by writer and photographer Jill Waterman, who recently produced an insightful interview with Davies. Our conversation gets to the heart of Davies’ loving project, and touches upon its themes of inclusiveness and of gentrification, but also digs into the process of making portraits in cramped quarters with little time, and of the surprisingly difficult task of getting people not to smile for a photo. We talk about Davies’ decision to eschew light stands for on-camera flash and to go with a Sony mirrorless camera and Zeiss 18mm lens. We also talk about the importance of creative freedom and rejecting preconceived expectations as you make portraits. Davies photographed a wide range of New Yorkers for this series and did not refuse one person who was suggested to her, but when it came to organizing a book, edits needed to be made, and we discuss this process, as well. Davies is well-known for her street photography and we mention her projects on neighborhood storefronts and vintage cars, but this series of interior portraits is as “New York” as it comes. Join us for this pleasant conversation and check out Jill Waterman’s interview with Davies. Guests: Sally Davies and Jill Waterman Photograph © Sally Davies Cover of “New Yorkers” by Sally Davies Marina Press, from “New Yorkers” Photograph © Sally Davies Laurie Anderson, from “New Yorkers” Photograph © Sally Davies Rachid Alsataf, from “New Yorkers” Photograph © Sally Davies Vicky Roman, from “New Yorkers” Photograph © Sally Davies Danny Fields, from “New Yorkers” Photograph © Sally Davies Frances Pilot, from “New Yorkers” Photograph © Sally Davies Margo and Lois, from “New Yorkers” Photograph © Sally Davies Liz Adams, from “New Yorkers” Photograph © Sally Davies Flloyd NYC, from “New Yorkers” Photograph © Sally Davies Sally Davies, from “New Yorkers” Photograph © Sally Davies 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 06/24/2021
This week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is produced in collaboration with Leica Camera, and we are pleased to welcome photographer and journalist Cheriss May to the program. One of the qualities needed to tell good stories is an ability to listen and, in conversation with May, it becomes clear that her skill for framing and capturing an image with her camera begins with her skill for listening and for engaging with people and their stories. As a freelance editorial and portrait photographer, these talents are continuously in use, whether the story she is telling has been assigned to her by an editor or is one she is pursuing and photographing of her own accord. We discuss some of May’s recent assignments with her, as well as self-assignments for The New York Times and other outlets, and how she develops stories, pitches them, and, at times, even attaches herself as the writer. We also discuss the cameras, lenses, and techniques she uses to create these series. May is also a regular photographer on the political beat in Washington, D.C. She is a White House pool photographer and was on assignment at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and she shares stories of covering that event and other major news stories of the past few years. She is also a long-time professor at Howard University and relates some of her thoughts on teaching (and learning) photography. In addition, as a former graphic designer and photographer who works in multiple genres, it should come as no surprise that she also exhibits her work, and currently has a photo series on display at the Leica Gallery Los Angeles and will be a part of the wonderful “Eyes on Main Street” exhibit in Wilson, North Carolina. We encourage you to check out her images from these series, as well as the rest of her wide range of purposeful work. Guest: Cheriss May Photograph © Cheriss May Kenneth Meeks holding his two-year-old son Mosiya's hand, watching the oldest known living survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre, Hughes Van Ellis, 100, Lessie Benningfield Randle, 106, and Viola "Mother" Fletcher, 107, go by in a horse-drawn carriage followed by descendants of the Massacre, during a march on Greenwood Avenue in Tulsa, Ok., on Friday, May 28, 2021. Photograph © Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group Ian T’senre stands on Greenwood Avenue in a moment of silence during a candlelight vigil, to remember the victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, at 10:30 p.m. on May 31, 2021, the exact day and time the first shot was fired 100 years ago. Photograph © Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group Washington D.C. Councilman Robert White, Jr., with his daughter. Photograph © Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group Parents actively show their children how to speak out and take a stand against inequality. Photograph © Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden wave from the North Portico of the White House, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Official White House Photo by Cheriss May) Natural Beauty. On exhibit — Leica Gallery Los Angeles. Photograph © Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group Sisterhood. On exhibit — Leica Gallery Los Angeles. Photograph © Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group 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 05/20/2021
Making photographs about the important social issues of our day should not be only in the hands of photojournalists working for large news organizations. Greg Constantine and Monica Lozano, our guests on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, as well as past guests of our program, distribute and exhibit their work outside the familiar “news” outlets. Both use their photographic work to address the stories of migrants, and both have spent the last two years documenting the human consequences of the United States’ ever-changing immigration policies. We welcome them back to discuss the specific work they have produced and how they disseminate their images. Monica Lozano is a respected fine art and documentary photographer who grew up in Texas and Mexico. Her work deals with issues of immigration, normally from a slightly abstracted and decontextualized, yet emotionally powerful, vantage point. For her recent series, “The Camps,” however, Lozano went directly to the refugee camps that began to appear in her hometown of Juarez, Mexico, in 2019. Her images tell the stories of the stranded asylum seekers by documenting the conditions they lived in and the community they developed. We speak with Lozano about her working process before and during the COVID pandemic. Greg Constantine, prior to joining us on a 2018 episode, had spent years in Asia documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis and other “stateless” peoples. Over the last three years, he has worked on a project about the U.S. immigration detention system. With grant funding and his own money, he has traveled the country creating a comprehensive yet personal document, taking photos and videos, and interviewing numerous detainees and their families. His work came to fruition in the journal Seven Doors, which has an online component, a print version, and exhibits in pop-up shows. We speak with Constantine about the difficulty and pride of being his own “author,” about grant writing, about using FUJIFILM and Mamiya film cameras, and about the value of giving away magazines and being a part of a larger community of image makers. Constantine and Lozano are moved by the injustices they see and have made it their lives’ work to document them and to tell the stories of those most vulnerable, and it is our pleasure to shine a light on their hard work. Guests: Monica Lozano and Greg Constantine Photograph © Greg Constantine © Greg Constantine/Seven Doors © Greg Constantine/Seven Doors © Greg Constantine/Seven Doors © Greg Constantine/Seven Doors © Greg Constantine/Seven Doors From “The Camps” series © Monica Lozano From “The Camps” series © Monica Lozano From “The Camps” series © Monica Lozano From “The Camps” series © Monica Lozano From “The Camps” series © Monica Lozano 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 05/06/2021
This is one of the most enjoyable chats on photography we’ve had in a while, and our subject is the history of amateur and popular photography as understood through photography how-to books and manuals. Joining us on the B&H Photography Podcast is Dr. Kim Beil, professor at Stanford University and author of Good Pictures: The History of Popular Photography, and with Professor Beil we not only speak about what is and has been considered a “good photo,” we specifically talk about her collection of photography how-to books and camera manuals, which act as a guide to this “good photography” over the years. A sense of the collection can be found on her Instagram page, and we discuss examples from various decades, as well as those aimed at certain disciplines and those written by popular instructors and well-known photographers, such as Ansel Adams and Gordon Parks. We also talk with Beil about certain trends in popular photography, including ideas as simple as cropping and the many techniques born of technical and artistic innovation. The role that Kodak played in the early years of amateur photography is touched upon, as is that of Polaroid instant photos of the 1970s. Beil has her favorite type of instructional book and we discuss authors who insisted on a prescriptive style of photography rules and those that were more “amateur to amateur.” We find out how she acquires books and also how YouTube tutorials are affecting the genre. Finally, we talk about digital photography trends and what she considers a good photo. Join us for this wide-ranging conversation sure to please any lover of amateur photography. Guest: Kim Beil Photograph © Kim Beil © Kim Beil © Kim Beil © Kim Beil © Kim Beil © Kim Beil © Kim Beil Cover of “Good Pictures: The History of Popular Photography” © Kim Beil From “Good Pictures: The History of Popular Photography” © Kim Beil From “Good Pictures: The History of Popular Photography” © Kim Beil 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 04/15/2021
When you have had as momentous a year as our guest, photographer Misan Harriman  had in 2020, you should shout it from the rooftops. However, on this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, Harriman offers us nothing but humility and gratitude for the work he has done, including creating the September 2020 cover photographs for British Vogue and the powerful images he made at Black Lives Matter marches in London. Harriman left us inspired, and we are happy to share this conversation, supported by Leica Camera. Sweet drops like, “Our ancestors are whispering to us every time we press the shutter” and “…there’s no small talk in black-and-white” are the icing on the cake of a wonderful conversation about his work and workflow. Harriman reflects on his love for image making but also speaks about coming to photography relatively late in life and maintaining confidence despite “imposter syndrome.” He advises photographing what you know and love before you dip your toe in deeper waters. We also talk about keeping your head above those deep waters when you are offered incredibly important assignments, such as the triple gatefold cover with twenty portraits for British Vogue, the first cover photograph by a black man in that magazine’s history. With Harriman we also discuss portrait work and minimizing technical distractions to focus on the “exchange of humanity.” This concept serves for portraits taken remotely as well, as his noted portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex demonstrates. Remote photography apps are mentioned, as is his workflow during BLM protests, including a dogged devotion to black-and-white and using up to five cameras with longer prime lenses for intimacy and safety. Harriman provides us with much to consider, from thoughts on why we should photograph to how to economize using L-mount gear. Join us for this engaging episode and please leave us a comment below. Guest: Misan Harriman Photograph © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman © Misan Harriman Damson Idris and Daps, 2020 © Misan Harriman Kingsley Ben-Adir, 2020 © Misan Harriman Emeli Sandé, 2020 © Misan Harriman Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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