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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 01/08/2020
During a little holiday trip, producer John Harris made a visit to the gallery and studio of photographer Clyde Butcher. For anyone who grew up in Florida, Butcher’s work should be very familiar; his photography is often found on the walls of local libraries, municipal buildings, and, as Miami native Jason Tables points out, “every doctor’s office I’ve ever been in.” Butcher’s images of the Florida landscapes, particularly of the Everglades, are legendary, and although he has a brisk print-sales business, many of the photos in libraries have the attached placard, “Donated by Clyde Butcher.” Although he is known primarily for his large format black-and-white photography of “the swamp,” Butcher’s photographic career extends back many decades and includes architectural photography, mountain and western landscapes, filmed documentaries, and decorative color photography. Interestingly, Butcher began his career selling prints at small art fairs and, in the 1970s, he had a thriving business selling thousands of prints through department stores such as Sears and Montgomery Ward. This episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is a casual conversation that glides through several topics, including Butcher’s work with large format cameras, his recent foray into Sony digital cameras paired with Canon tilt-shift lenses, the incredible set of vintage enlargers in his giant darkroom space, the business models he and his family employ to market his images, water conservation, and, of course, his relationship to the Florida landscape for which he will be forever linked. Join us for this conversation with a true master. Guest: Clyde Butcher Above photograph © Clyde Butcher Tamiani Trail © Clyde Butcher Cigar Orchid Pond © Clyde Butcher Ochopee © Clyde Butcher Big Cypress © Clyde Butcher Moonrise © Clyde Butcher Plaja-S’Arenella-with-Boat, from Salvador Dali series © Clyde Butcher Cadaques, from Salvador Dali series © Clyde Butcher Cap-de-Creus, from Salvador Dali series © Clyde Butcher Clocks by Clyde Butcher circa, 1970s © Clyde Butcher Clyde Butcher and John Harris © Niki Butcher Niki and Clyde Butcher © John Harris Clyde Butcher in his Venice, Florida office © John Harris Butcher workshop and darkroom, 2019 © John Harris Niki Butcher with enlarger, 2019 © John Harris Clyde Butcher in Movie Dome with 11 x 14" view camera © Clyde Butcher 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 02/02/2018
This week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast posits the notion that we are in a new “Golden Age” of landscape photography, and a fundamental attribute of this landscape photography is its embracing of digital and mobile technologies. From soaring ISO capabilities and improved dynamic range to stacking and correction software to weather, mapping, and pre-production apps, the willing photographer can plan and execute landscape images that would have been impossible to create only a few short years ago. We also suggest that the Pacific Northwest, with its proximity to the cradle of the tech industry and a spectrum of natural wonders, is the hub of this progressive landscape photography movement. Veteran photographers have adopted new technologies and created a movement, and a younger generation is following suit, certain to take landscape photography into a future that includes drones, VR, and imaging technologies yet to be imagined. We also discuss the influence of photo-sharing platforms and new career models that enable photographers to distribute their work and travel to destinations that editorial assignments would never cover. We welcome to our conversation two preëminent landscape photographers, Erin Babnik and Sean Bagshaw, who discuss their work and the use of the high-tech gear and applications in the creation of their photography. In addition to the obligatory Q and A about camera and lens choices, we discuss location and weather apps, post-process plug-ins, and even the latest foul-weather gear, all of which enable them to create the stunning work for which they are known. Both photographers are members of Photo Cascadia, and have a wide following of supporters and students. Their workshops sell out months in advance. After hearing their insights and seeing their imagery, there will be no doubt as to why. Also, at the end of today’s episode, we announce the winners of our Canon 5D Mark IV sweepstakes. Guests: Erin Babnik and Sean Bagshaw The Lost Ark © Erin Babnik Enigma © Erin Babnik Kairos © Erin Babnik Rhapsody in Blue © Erin Babnik Requiem © Erin Babnik Catching Air © Erin Babnik Wood and Stone © Sean Bagshaw The Gift Tree © Sean Bagshaw Summer Seclusion © Sean Bagshaw Mostnica Autumn © Sean Bagshaw Okshornan Peaks © Sean Bagshaw Bohinj Woods © Sean Bagshaw Lineage © Sean Bagshaw 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 09/15/2017
Canon has recently announced the addition of three new tilt-shift lenses to its lineup, a relatively big deal for a type of lens often considered merely a tool for architecture photography. The truth is that tilt-shift lenses are used in many photographic applications, from landscape to portraiture, and their creative possibilities are limitless. Also, with this release, Canon has expanded the format to include a TS-E 135mm lens, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with perspective-control optics. Using this news as the keystone, we have built an episode of the B&H Photography Podcast around tilt-shift and perspective-control lenses. We discuss the history and general principles of these types of lenses, as well as their common (and not so common) applications. We explain the difference between tilt and shift and address the fact that perspective corrections can now be made in post-production and, despite that, the value that in-camera control offers. We wrap up with an inventory of the many tilt-shift lenses available from B&H, including those from Nikon, Canon, Schneider and Rokinon, as well as those available in the used market and those for medium format cameras. Join us for this informative discussion and let us know about your most valued tilt-shift lens and what you photograph with it, in the Comments section, below. Guest: Todd Vorenkamp 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 09/08/2017
The title “The Falling Man” has been acknowledged as the name of the photograph of a man falling from the north tower of the World Trade Center during the attacks of September 11, 2001. The image depicts a lone figure falling headfirst against the backdrop of the vertical lines of the twin towers. As an image, it is a striking composition and the casual position of the man’s body bisecting the two towers, has even been described as graceful. These visual elements mask the horror of its immediate context and perhaps add to the upsetting response that often accompanies this image. Unlike other photographs from that day, this image does not explicitly depict carnage and destruction, but it is this image that has been often singled-out as too disturbing to view, too galling to publish. In fact, the image was published by many newspapers on the day following the attacks and was received with such recoil that editors were called to apologize for its inclusion and almost immediately, it fell under a shroud of obscurity, which in the sixteen years since 9/11, has been slowly lifted. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome veteran Associated Press photojournalist Richard Drew who took this now iconic photograph. We talk with Drew about his experiences on September 11, 2001, about media self-censorship and about how this photo, which is simultaneously peaceful and deeply painful, had been received, rejected and perhaps now, accepted as part of the whole story and a symbol of all that was lost that day. Guest: Richard Drew Editor’s Note: We have decided to not use “The Falling Man” photograph in our blog post because of its painful depiction, but we feel the conversation we hold has educational, emotional and historical value, especially as we approach the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11. We produced it and present it with the utmost of respect for those whose lives has been affected by the attacks of September 11, 2001, particularly the survivors, the victims and their families, the first-responders and the journalists, who also risked their lives that horrible morning. Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, Los Angeles, 1968. Photograph: Richard Drew Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, Los Angeles, 1968. Photograph: Richard Drew Muhammad Ali watches as defending world champion George Foreman goes down to the canvas in the eighth round of their WBA/WBC championship match in Kinshasa, Zaire, on October 30, 1974. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Frank Sinatra escorts Jackie Onassis to the '21' Club on September 17, 1975 after she attended his concert at the Uris theater (AP Photo/Richard Drew) President Richard Nixon attends a baseball game at Yankee Stadium after his term in office (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Andy Warhol (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Texas billionaire Ross Perot laughs in response to reporters asking when he plans to formally enter the Presidential race. New York City, May 5, 1992 (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Britain’s Prince Charles, during a charity polo match in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park. February 17, 1993 (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Cuban President Fidel Castro at a special commemorative meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, October 22, 1995. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Specialist Anthony Rinaldi is reflected in a screen at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, April 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Richard Drew at the B&H Photography Podcast. Photograph: John Harris Allan Weitz and Richard Drew. Photograph: 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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