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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 05/13/2021
This week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is an old-fashioned hands-on review, but in this case, made with six hands. Allan, Jason, and I were pleased to be loaned the Leica Q2 Digital Camera and the Leica Q2 Monochrom Digital Camera, and we use our consideration of these 47MP cameras as a springboard to talk about camera grips, and point-and-shoot cameras, and value. We also talk about macro photography and cropping and about how to create black-and-white images from color files. We begin the conversation mentioning the specs and features of these two incredible cameras and each of us offers our pros and cons regarding the features we liked best and those we felt lacking. Autofocus, body design, focal length, and responsiveness are mentioned. Other Leica cameras, such as the Leica M10-P, get discussed, too, as do the practical differences between rangefinders with removable lenses and point-and-shoots. Join us for this casual chat about photography and about how each of us, with our different workflows, aesthetics, and goals, found these cameras to be versatile, yet also challenged us to create better images. Guests: Allan Weitz, Jason Tables, John Harris Photograph © John Harris © Jason Tables © Jason Tables © Jason Tables © John Harris © John Harris © John Harris Leica Q2 Monochrom Digital Camera © John Harris © Allan Weitz © Allan Weitz © Allan Weitz 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 04/22/2021
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 04/01/2021
This episode was first published in January 2018. The Canon sweepstakes mentioned in the episode has long since ended and is no longer valid. For some photographers, the phrase “run and gun” has a negative connotation, but when you’re Norman Reedus, that description takes on a much cooler meaning, one that is accurate to his style and a compliment to his ability to “sense a moment.” Reedus, most recognized for his acting work on the television series, “The Walking Dead” and “Ride with Norman Reedus,” is first and always an artist: a sculptor, a director, and author of the photography books, “The Sun’s Coming Up… Like a Big Bald Head” and his latest, “Portraits from the Woods,” which is a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the making of “The Walking Dead.” Both books are available at Big Bald Gallery. With the travel demands of working on films and television, Reedus’s photography becomes a way to engage with his locations and document his adventures but, through the eyes of an artist, his work is more than just famous locales and behind-the-scenes fun. He brings a personal vision, humorous and dark, to images he captures and does so with an experimenter’s touch, using a variety of cameras and styles. We talk with Reedus about his start in photography, his stylistic approaches, gear choices, and what he has learned from his time in front of a camera that helps with his work behind one. However, with a guest like Reedus—generous with his time and tales—you let the conversation flow, and we also discuss his series “Ride,” the influence of Laurie Anderson, fan selfies, his love of horror films, and a range of other topics. While recording this episode, the Tom Waits line, “I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things,” kept popping into my head. I’m not sure this line best reflects Reedus’s work, but I am sure there is a Tom Waits line that does. This episode was a real treat for us at the B&H Photography Podcast, and we hope you feel the same in the listening. Allan Weitz and Norman Reedus, 2017 © John Harris Guest: Norman Reedus Photograph © Norman Reedus Cooks in the Kitchen with Kitten, Max Security Prison, Moscow © Norman Reedus Exercise, Max Security Prison, Moscow © Norman Reedus Tulum 2 © Norman Reedus Undecided Soldier © Norman Reedus San Diego © Norman Reedus Cover from “Portraits from the Woods,” 2020 © Norman Reedus 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 12/10/2019
It’s that time of year again at the B&H Photography Podcast. Now firmly established as a tradition, with the end of the year in sight and gifting season in full swing, we take an episode to talk about the most interesting—dare I say, best—cameras of the year. Our guests include podcast regular Levi Tenenbaum and B&H SuperStore camera expert Georgina Diaz. This year, we start with an overview of mirrorless cameras announced in 2019, including the new full-frames from Panasonic, Sony, Leica and Sigma. We also mention the new APS-C and Micro Four Thirds format cameras such as the FUJIFILM X-Pro 3, the Sony Alpha a6600, the Nikon Z50, and the Olympus OM-D E-M1X Mirrorless Digital Camera. Perhaps most interesting are the mirrorless medium format high-resolution cameras that were introduced, including the FUJIFILM GFX 100 and Hasselblad X1D II 50C. Jumping ahead to DSLR cameras, we see that Nikon and Canon updated their flagship models, Canon offering the EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR and Nikon, the D6 DSLR Camera. Canon also announced its compact mirrorless full frame, the Canon EOS RP. High-end point-and-shoots from Sony and Canon were released, as were three new waterproof tough cameras from Ricoh, FUJIFILM, and Olympus. After a break, we take on the subject of lenses and accessories and highlight a few lenses that caught our attention, such as the FUJIFILM XF 16-80mm f/4 R OIS WR, the Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS, the Nikon NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct lens, and several others. We wrap up the episode with a discussion of lights, tripods, drones, and other accessories. Our guests bring their expertise to this conversation as we compare new cameras to their predecessors, discuss specs, and get insight from the SuperStore floor regarding what have been the hot items from 2019. Join us for this timely and educational episode. Guests:  Georgina Diaz and Levi Tenenbaum   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 01/09/2019
On this week's episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome two artists whose work blurs the line between street photography, documentary, installation and digital art, while cultivating a contemporary interpretation of the art and craft of collage. Both artists utilize photography-based processes and take urban architecture and street scenes as their subject, but from there, the work goes in very different directions. Jennifer Williams creates large, often site-specific collages that inspect but distort the architectural scenes she documents. As she has stated, “The rectilinear shape that is the traditional photograph never fulfilled my desire to show everything in space," and that will be immediately clear upon seeing her work. Layering images of buildings upon one another, she creates angular and abstract collages while still providing a path for the viewer to connect the image she creates with the neighborhood or street that she photographed. Williams speaks about her process, including the original imaging, her manipulation in post-process, and her large-scale installations, often made on Photo Tex media. Tommy Mintz wrote a software program that creates "automated digital collages" and he has experimented over the years how he (and the program) composes the street scenes he photographs. The tools he uses for image capture and computation have evolved and become more powerful, but unlike the painstaking control Williams exercises over her collages, the key element in Mintz's process is the random arrangement and layering of images that the software creates. This is not to say that his images are out of control—after all, he wrote the program. He selects scenes to photograph and he does adjust the final product in Photoshop, but the software-generated placement of images creates layers, unexpected shadows, multiple exposures and even seeming glitches that add up to an intriguing and whimsical take on street photography. Join us as we learn about the conceptualizations and processes of these two visual artists and hear how they integrate Nodal Ninja, Epson 24" printers, and the Sigma dp2 Quattro Digital Camera into their workflow. Guests: Jennifer Williams and Tommy Mintz City of Tommorow- Manhatten: Billionaire's Row (57th Street) © Jennifer Williams Blacksburg Unfurled (Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia) © Jennifer Williams Surveying Liberty (Newbugrh, NY) © Jennifer Williams The High Line Effect: Approaching Hudson Yards © Jennifer Williams Ladders (Installed at Robert Mann Gallery) © Jennifer Williams © Tommy Mintz © Tommy Mintz © Tommy Mintz © Tommy Mintz © Tommy Mintz Jennifer Williams, Tommy Mintz, and Allan Weitz © 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 12/12/2018
It is that time of year, when we chat about the cameras that have been announced in 2018 and toss in some commentary by our in-house experts. We also make time for our favorite new lenses and a few accessories and miscellaneous pieces of gear. At the end of the show, we’ll go around the room and offer our thoughts on each of our favorite cameras from this year. While we already touched upon the new Canon and Nikon mirrorless full-frame cameras in a previous episode, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge these big announcements at the top of the show. Other than these long-awaited announcements, 2018 was a comparatively quiet year for other manufacturers. Sony announced the Alpha a7 III Mirrorless full-frame camera at the beginning of the year, and both the RX100 VA and the RX100 VI; Zeiss has everyone curious about its full-frame ZX1 Digital Camera. Leica put out the Leica Q-P Digital Camera along with M10-D. Fujifilm bookended its year with two big announcements, the Fujifilm X-H1 in February, and the X-T3 later in the year—and added a few smaller X-series cameras, point-and-shoots, and the Instax SQ6 Taylor Swift Edition along the way. Panasonic announced the Lumix DC-GH5S as the update to the G5, and Olympus released the PEN E-PL9. Several lenses were highlighted during the roundup episode, including the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di RXD Lens for Sony E and the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 DC CN lens. The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF lens for Sony E also found favor, as did the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM lens and the Rokinon 24mm f/2.8 AF lens. In addition to cameras and lenses, we spoke about new bags from Lowepro and Peak Design; lights from Luxli and Profoto; tripods by Robus; and the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and the GoPro Hero 7. This really was an episode full of insightful gear talk, and we discussed a wide range of products; we hope you enjoy and that it will help with any gift-buying decisions you may be making. Guests: Chelsea Jensen and Shawn Steiner Chelsea Jensen, Allan Weitz, and Shawn Steiner   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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