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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 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 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 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 03/04/2021
On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome wedding and portrait photographer Kesha Lambert. We are excited to speak with Lambert about her approach to wedding photography on today’s show, but she is also speaking at the upcoming 4th annual Depth of Field Portrait, Wedding, and Event Photography Conference, which is a free virtual event to be held on March 7 – 8, 2021. The conference is hosted by B&H Photo and sponsored by Sony, Nikon, Canon, Godox, HP/NVIDIA, and others. The work of Kesha Lambert stands out for its ability to be both joyous and intimate. She deftly uses color and composition, as well as experience and intuition to tell unique and universal wedding day stories. Did I mention that Lambert is also a lawyer, mom to three boys, a member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association, and a Sony Artisan of Imagery? In our conversation, we discuss her business, intrapersonal, and photography skills to get a sense of how she runs her successful studio. Her website is a lesson in design and good business practices, and we discuss cameras and lenses, getting ahead of client expectations, contracts, and subjects as diverse as lighting kits and keeping large wedding parties focused and in frame. Join us for this insightful and enjoyable chat and register for Depth of Field 2021. Guest: Kesha Lambert Photograph © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert © Kesha Lambert 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 01/14/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, photographer Matt Price describes skate photography as the “perfect blend between studio and sports photography” and, from our engaging conversation, this idea will be made clear. Price knows of what he speaks—in addition to an acclaimed freelance career, he has been a staff photographer and editor for The Skateboard Mag and is currently Brand Director at CCS Skateshop and creates the magazine, Golden Hours Skateboarding. Price has lost more than one lens to the rigors of his craft, and we talk with him about getting close to skateboarders with a fish-eye lens, as well as other shooting and lighting techniques. We also discuss how he fell in love with skating and, at a very young age, began to submit his work to forums and, ultimately, to editors. He admits to taking his lumps from online critics for his early work, but his passion for skating and desire to improve his photo craft provided the courage and commitment to keep going and, eventually, his “energy-based” photo style caught the eye of editors and brands who sent him around the world to cover the skate scene. We discuss many topics in this easygoing conversation, from skating techniques to the business of skateboard photography to the differences between the various skate publications. We also get into the relationship between skater and photographer and how such a niche photo style has grown to influence a range of disciplines. Finally, we talk about gear choices and what has worked for Price. Starting with a Canon Rebel that he purchased with money his grandmother helped him secure, Price has worked with Hasselblad and Sony systems, but is currently back where he started, shooting with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L lens. Guest: Matt Price Photographs © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price © Matt Price Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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