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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 02/23/2018
We are delighted, at the B&H Photography Podcast, to present our chat with acclaimed portrait photographer Chris Buck. Buck is an in-demand celebrity and advertising photographer, but he also maintains ongoing personal projects, such as his current series, “Gentleman’s Club.” We speak with him on a range of topics, from concept development, shooting technique, and gear, to editing decisions and self-publishing. With a flexible yet unmistakable style that blends insight, a touch of dry, almost absurdist humor, and a pinch of the darkness within, Buck has photographed a host of luminaries from the worlds of film, music, and politics, including four of our last five Presidents. His most recent book, Uneasy, is a 30-year compendium of incredible portraits; we discuss the making of this book and, of course, some of his most recognized images. We also speak with Buck about process: his “three tiers of ideas,” thoughts on humor, his adjustment to digital photography, and DSLR versus medium format. In this wide-ranging conversation, Buck opines on his relationship with subjects, the nature of portraiture, his influences from pop culture and photography, and how “being relaxed and having fun are the enemies of a good Chris Buck photo.” Guest: Chris Buck Barack Obama, from the book, "Uneasy" © Chris Buck Elvis Costello, from the book, "Uneasy" © Chris Buck George McGovern, from the book, "Uneasy" © Chris Buck Leonard Cohen, from the book, "Uneasy" © Chris Buck Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly, from the book, "Uneasy" © Chris Buck Steve Martin, from the book, "Uneasy" © Chris Buck Steve Martin, from the book, "Uneasy" © Chris Buck William F. Buckley, from the book, "Uneasy" © Chris Buck Jonathan Millet, from the "Gentleman’s Club" series © Chris Buck Vincent Rodriguez, from the "Gentleman’s Club" series © Chris Buck Chris Buck on the B&H Photography Podcast © John Harris Allan Weitz and Chris Buck © 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
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Posted 06/02/2017
It’s a short week here at the B&H Photography Podcast, so we thought we’d take care of some cleaning that we have put off all winter. Unless one is a full-time pro or serious enthusiast, most of one’s photography is done in the fairer months of spring and summer, whether that be on family vacations, at sporting events, weekend picnics, or just working out that macro lens in the garden. So, it’s time to pull the camera bag from the closet and give our gear a quick once-over to make sure everything is in working order. In this episode, we discuss little ways to maintain cameras and lenses, and things to do to prepare them for the shooting season. From firmware upgrades to mode settings to dust and grease removal, there is a lot you can do in a short time to better understand your camera and to keep it functioning smoothly. In the second half of the show, we continue our serial “Dispatch,” with Adriane Ohanesian. This ongoing segment takes an inside look at the life and work of a freelance photojournalist working in East Africa. In this episode, Ohanesian updates us on her coverage of the conflict in Somalia as she spends time embedded with African Union troops and travels north, to photograph the effects of the ongoing drought in Puntland. She discusses being contracted by the International Rescue Committee to document the refugees “flowing” from war-torn South Sudan to settlement camps in Uganda and, finally, analyzes the risks and expenses freelance photographers take on while working in conflict zones—and the often adverse objectives of news organizations and NGOs. Guests: Todd Vorenkamp and Adriane Ohanesian Click here if you missed Episode 1 of "Dispatch." Photographs © Adriane Ohanesian Mohamed Abdi Bare, age 4, stares at the line of people inside of the waiting area at the Department of Refugee Affairs office in Shauri Moyo, Nairobi, Kenya, January, 2017. Ugandan African Union armored personnel carriers at dusk along the Afgooye road outside of Mogadishu, Somalia, February, 2017. The Ugandan African Union Special Forces wait inside of an armored personnel carrier during a night patrol in Mogadishu, Somalia, February, 2017. The shelters of nearly 400 pastoralists families who have lost a majority of their livestock due to drought, have set up camp along the road in search of food and water in Uusgure, Puntland, Somalia, February, 2017. Severely malnourished, Farhiyah, age 2, lies on the floor of her family’s hut where she stays with her three siblings and mother who came to the area in search of food and water in Uusgure, Puntland, Somalia, February, 2017. The remains of dead goats lie next to the road in Puntland, Somalia, February, 2017. South Sudanese gather to collect their belongings that were transported to the Imvepi settlement for South Sudanese refugees who have fled to northern Uganda. March, 2017. 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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