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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 03/11/2021
This is the second episode of the B&H Photography Podcast produced with the collaboration of Leica Camera, and we are pleased to welcome photographer Stella Johnson to the show. It is the “in-between moments of life” that Johnson describes as the subject of her work, work that includes books and documentary series made in Cameroon, Greece, Nicaragua, and Mexico. In this easygoing conversation, we discuss the nature of her long-term projects, and the motivations that return her to the same places year after year. We also talk about composing with rangefinder cameras, being at the eye level of your subject, and the weeks that go by without making pictures and the verbal and nonverbal communication necessary when you are invited as a photographer into a community or home, as Johnson has been. For her personal documentary work, Johnson has relied on Leica M cameras and a 35mm focal length lens. We discuss this focal distance in terms of a personal comfort zone and one that even felt safer during pandemic time. Johnson keeps her settings simple and concentrates on composition and the moment; she tends to find light and locations that she likes and waits for the images. Because Johnson’s compositions are so strong in black-and-white and her color work is minimal and adroit, we ask for her thoughts on how to work with both formats and if a fluidity between them is easy. Finally, in searching for a definition of documentary photography, we mulled over the effect of time, of returning to locations and subjects, of its distinction from photojournalism, as seeing “what life is like” and the stories of “just daily life.” Guest: Stella Johnson Photograph © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “Al Sol” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “ZOI” © Stella Johnson From “RE-CREATIONS” © Stella Johnson 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 09/23/2020
For the headline of this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we lifted a line from our guest’s own Instagram bio. It would have been too easy to call a show with Walter Iooss Jr. “Sports Photography Legend” or some such, but that pigeonholes Iooss too easily, and does not recognize the scope of his engagement with photography and with the creative process. Yes, Walter Iooss Jr. is sports photography. He has more than 300 Sports Illustrated covers to his name, his first professional gig was at age 17, and for six decades he has photographed several Hall of Fames’s worth of athletes, including names like Arnold, Mary Lou, Muhammad, and Tiger, and his work with Michael Jordan is unparalleled. Also—every Super Bowl. But he has also photographed rock stars, models, fashion and commercial assignments, portraits, and documentary series. And he tells us of his love for music and that if not for a twist of fate, he might have been a musician. The man is a creator for life, a photographer for life. With Iooss, our conversation takes a leisurely approach, touching on a few of his more memorable photos and some of the interesting lesser knowns; the breadth of his work alone could keep us talking for hours. Along the way, we learn a little about his upbringing, the love for music, his mentors, and the time he shot for Atlantic Records. We discuss how he builds a composition, whether it be an action shot during a game or a complicated portrait setup. We also talk about using a giant Polaroid camera, the coming of autofocus, and Canon DSLRs. Join us for this pleasant conversation that is sure to interest not only fans of sports, but fans of photography. Guest: Walter Iooss Jr. Photograph © Walter Iooss Jr. Andy Samberg, 2011 © Walter Iooss Jr. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, 2003 © Walter Iooss Jr. Emmet Ashford, 1968 © Walter Iooss Jr. Tony Scott and Gary Templeton, 1979 © Walter Iooss Jr. Greg Louganis, 1984 © Walter Iooss Jr. Dave Parker and Grant Jackson, 1980 © Walter Iooss Jr. Jack Nicklaus, 1967 © Walter Iooss Jr. The Blue Dunk, Michael Jordan, 1987 © Walter Iooss Jr. The Corner, Havana, Cuba, 1999 © Walter Iooss Jr. Leipzig, East Germany, 1976 © Walter Iooss Jr. Lee Trevino, 1991 © Walter Iooss Jr. Willis Reed, 1973 © Walter Iooss Jr. Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 01/15/2020
Imagine the privilege of being present at the creation of one of the “wonders of the world,” and then imagine being asked to document the magnitude—and the details—of that creation. Our guest on today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast has just that privilege and that responsibility and, as he puts it, this telescope may “change the way we understand our universe.” Chris Gunn has been a NASA contract photographer for almost twenty years but, for the past ten, he has dedicated himself to the James Webb Space Telescope and documenting the construction and eventual launch of this spacecraft, which will replace the Hubble as NASA’s most powerful telescope. We speak with Gunn about all aspects of his job and, specifically, about the gorgeous medium format images he creates that are made available to the public. Gunn is responsible for documenting the construction process, which includes portraits of scientists, as well as macro shots of screws, and he relates how he has “taken the extra step” to evolve as a photographer, incorporating medium format photography and detailed setups. Gunn must be prepared to shoot any style of photo and he discusses his daily responsibilities, how his gear has evolved over time, the lighting he chooses, and his interaction with the hundreds and technicians and scientists he works with regularly. We also discuss marketing yourself as a photographer and the specific challenges that make his job like no other, including working in giant “clean rooms,” accepting that your work is immediately in the public domain, and incorporating the aesthetics from science-fiction films. Sitting in on this recording is our own member of the B&H Space Force, writer Todd Vorenkamp. Join us for this fascinating episode in which we learn about this incredible spacecraft and the work that goes into documenting its creation and check out our 2016 episode, in which we speak with the imaging scientists from the  Hubble Telescope mission. Guest: Chris Gunn Above photograph © Chris Gunn Chamber A Door © Chris Gunn/NASA Blanket Inspection © Chris Gunn/NASA Wings Deployed © Chris Gunn/NASA Lights Out Inspection © Chris Gunn/NASA Container Doors © Chris Gunn/NASA Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 11/06/2019
On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome photojournalist and sports photographer Nick Didlick to our show. Didlick has been a freelance shooter, a staff photographer, an agency photographer for Reuters and UPI and, while covering the world news, was nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes. He also is an accomplished videographer, editor, and producer, and has served as Photo Chief for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and as Director of Photography at the Vancouver Sun, where he oversaw the staff change from film to digital photography. As a photographer, Didlick has always been ahead of the technological curve, willing to try new cameras and transmission systems and push existing technology to its limits. He joins us to discuss his technical evolution as a sports photographer and the features that he considers important to balance technological advances with age-old experience of craft. We ask Didlick to look back on his career and discuss important steps in the evolution of his kit, including autofocus features, compact lenses, telephoto extenders, remote control, wireless transmission and, of course, the development of digital photography. We also look ahead to improvements in metadata and artificial intelligence and his overarching philosophy that all advances should be embraced if they are needed to improve your workflow. Throughout the episode, Didlick pokes fun at my “old” DSLR technology in favor of his Sony Alpha a9 II Mirrorless camera but, in doing so, he underscores his point, that as photographers, the hardest part of advancing your skill set is “un-learning” what you considered fundamental and embrace the changes that can improve your photography. Join us for this rollicking and enjoyable episode. Guest: Nick Didlick Above Photograph © Nick Didlick Wayne Gretzky © Nick Didlick Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev © Nick Didlick Remnants of Pan Am Flight 103, Lockerbie, Scotland © Nick Didlick Tiger Woods © Nick Didlick 2019 NCAA Final Four © Nick Didlick Lindsey Vonn © Nick Didlick Rodeo © Nick Didlick Usain Bolt stumbles and falls during race © Nick Didlick IAAF World Athletics Championship, 2019 © Nick Didlick Venus Williams © Nick Didlick Sloane Stephens with U.S. Open trophy, 2018 ©Nick Didlick Aibo dogs from Sony © Nick Didlick Nick Didlick 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 06/05/2019
Do you have undeveloped rolls of film that have been sitting around forever? Maybe you don't even realize that you have unprocessed rolls from the "good ol' days of analog" in an old camera bag or a dresser drawer. Now is the time to look into this matter and have the chance to explore and share your memories, perhaps even rediscover events and people that memory has left behind. On this week's episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome the directors of Lost Rolls America, Ron Haviv and Lauren Walsh. Inspired by Haviv's own The Lost Rolls book, they have initiated this project to create a national archive of lost, yet now found, images "to form a collective memory that prioritizes the role of photos in constructing our personal and shared pasts. In revisiting the past, this project also encourages contemplation of how the present and future will be remembered." The idea is simple, but one look at the growing archive and the memories shared, and it becomes clear how powerful this project can be. With Haviv and Walsh, we recount the genesis of the project, how PhotoShelter, PhotoWings, and FUJIFILM came onboard as partners, and they offer insight on the future plans for the project. They also discuss a few of the more interesting images and recollections submitted, how the submission process works and, of course, they encourage our listeners to submit lost rolls. Above Photograph © Mette Lampcov/Lost Rolls America Lost Rolls America: What kind of memories does this photo bring back? Valentina Zavarin: I was leaving alone to America. Time for adventure away from my mother and siblings. I remember how excited I was for this new life ahead after World War II. Everyone is smiling but I remember they were in a shock that they were left behind. Valentina Zavarin/Lost Rolls America, 1950 Lost Rolls America: Does this photo bring back any memories? Debra Miller: Yes. Sadness, horror, shock. Debra Miller/ Lost Rolls America, 2001 Lost Rolls America: Is this what you expected to see? Elizabeth Kamir: No. The old roll of Tri-X that had taken up residence in my drawer for nearly 30 years always dared me to imagine. I never planned to develop it. I assumed if there was anything on the roll, it would either be something innocuous, like pictures of my grandmother or something embarrassing, like theatrical, nude self-portraits. I might have taken pictures like that back then. Elizabeth Kamir/Lost Rolls America, 1990 Lost Rolls America: What kind of memories does this photo bring back? Mette Lampcov: It makes me think of how much I used to laugh my head off with her (Tracy). It makes me miss London and old friends, especially people who have a wicked sense of humor- and seeing her head float in the back garden is a perfect reminder of her beautiful funny madness. Mette Lampcov/Lost Rolls America, 2002 Lost Rolls America: How does this old photo make you feel? Michael Starensic: I feel a sense of accomplishment that I was able to capture the times and emotions as the country swayed from crisis to crisis. This was the last interlude- "coming up for air" I called it- between the major tumult of the Kosovo War two months earlier and the start of renewed opposition that month. We soon headed back to the capital and events were intense for the next 14 months. Nevena and I married 2 months later in Belgrade in the midst of mounting protest and turmoil. Michael Starensic/Lost Rolls America, 1999 Lost Rolls America: How does this old photo make you feel? Bruce Lampcov: Very nostalgic. I miss the days when my children were young and together we discovered new places, new cultures. Bruce Lampcov/Lost Rolls America, 2004 Lost Rolls America: What kind of memories does this photo bring back? Tamika Jancewicz: Just how huge I was when I was pregnant! I think I felt that way when I took the picture as well. Tamika Jancewicz/Lost Rolls America, 2007 Lost Rolls America: What are we looking at here? Russell Gontar: This is my friend, Linda. We spent an afternoon taking pictures at the beach and old amusement park. I asked her to close her eyes in an attempt to be "arty". Russell Gontar/Lost Rolls America, 1977 Lost Rolls America: How does this old photo make you feel? Jennifer Mitchell: As all the kiddos in the picture are my nieces and nephew, it makes me feel amazingly proud. One is in the Air Force Academy, one is a wedding planner in a Colorado Rocky Mountain resort, and one just got accepted into a PhD program for Astrophysics. I bet my sister (who is reading to them) thinks that she might have had a little something to do with it.:) When I showed her the picture, she sighed and said, "Oh, that was always one of my favorite things to do with those kids!" Jennifer Mitchell/Lost Rolls America, 2004 Lost Rolls America: How does this old photo make you feel? Keith Munger: Like One Of The Miraculous Few That Loves His Wife As Much Now As In 1969. I Am A Very Lucky Guy! Keith Munger/Lost Rolls America, 1969 Guests: Lauren K. Walsh and Ron Haviv Ron Haviv is a is an Emmy nominated, award-winning photojournalist and co-founder of the photo agency VII, dedicated to documenting conflict and raising awareness about human rights issues around the globe. He has worked in more than one hundred countries and published four critically acclaimed collections of photography. His work has been featured in numerous museums and galleries, including the Louvre, the United Nations, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Lauren Walsh is a professor and writer who teaches at The New School and NYU, where she is the Director of NYU Gallatin's Photojournalism Lab. She is editor of Macondo, a photo book documenting the long-term conflict in Colombia, and coeditor of the collection, The Future of Text and Image, as well as the Millennium Villages Project, a photography book about efforts to relieve extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. She has appeared on CNN as a scholar of photography and digital culture, as well as in the documentary 9/11: Ten Years Later. Ron Haviv, Allan Weitz, and Lauren Walsh John Harris   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 01/26/2018
We welcome back Chris Williams, of Lens Therapy Live, and photographer David Speiser, of lilibirds.com, to the B&H Photography Podcast for a discussion on the applications, techniques, and specific features of super-telephoto lenses. Super-telephoto lenses are most often used by sports and wildlife photographers—however, photojournalists, law-enforcement, and even landscape photographers are known to use them, as well. They offer the build quality to withstand tough conditions and the optical quality to capture distant subjects clearly. For this conversation, we define “super telephoto” as a lens with a six-degree angle of view, which, on a full-frame sensor, corresponds to a 400mm lens. On APS-C format DSLRs you can get an even longer reach with your super telephotos and, while Fujifilm, Olympus, and Panasonic offer a few super teles for their mirrorless cameras, the ultra-long lenses are still the domain of the professional DSLR. There are high-quality super-telephoto zooms from Sigma and Tamron, but our conversation concentrates on the fast-aperture, prime lenses made by Nikon and Canon. We discuss their unique features, image stabilization systems, filters, methods of support, and the techniques used to handle them effectively. Join us for this very informative episode and, while you are at it, subscribe to our show and check out the B&H Photography Podcast: Canon 5D Mark IV Sweepstakes for your chance to win a Canon 5D Mark IV DSLR or a Canon 80D DSLR! Guests: David Speiser and Chris Williams Hermit Thrush Nelson’s Sparrow Northern Hawk Owl Peregrine Falcon Scissor Tailed Flycatcher Gyrfalcon David Speiser, Allan Weitz, and Chris Williams Previous Pause Next David Speiser 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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Posted 07/21/2017
When you get a chance to speak with an expert, you take advantage. At this year’s OPTIC 2017 Conference, when Lance Keimig and Chris Nicholson passed by our mobile studio, we did just that. Keimig is an author, instructor, and above all, a photographer who specializes in night photography. Well before digital technology made photographing the Milky Way an easy endeavor, Keimig was experimenting with film stock and developing processes to create long-exposure images. He is currently an instructor at National Parks at Night and along with Nicholson, offers workshops in night photography at many US National Parks. On today’s episode, we speak with Keimig and Nicholson about the differences between creating night photography with film and with digital cameras. There are obviously many modes and functions on a digital camera that make night photography simpler, but at the heart of the enterprise, is the process the same? We ask this question and discuss techniques used with film and the advantages that accompany digital cameras. We also ask, “What is night photography?” and “What are the charms that keep these two photographers interested in this specific discipline?” Listen as Keimig provides insight into the history of night photography and Nicholson discusses his shooting methods and ideas on composition that he applies while working in national parks. Guests: Lance Keimig and Chris Nicholson Click here if you missed our episode,  Night Photography—Exploring the Creative Possibilities. Click here for Jill Waterman’s article on Lance Keimig’s switch from Canon to Nikon equipment. Film photograph, Lance Keimig Film photograph, Lance Keimig Film photograph, Lance Keimig Film photograph, Lance Keimig Film photograph, Lance Keimig Digital photograph, Lance Keimig Digital photograph, Lance Keimig Blue Ridge Parkway, Chris Nicholson Cape Cod National Seashore, Chris Nicholson Death Valley National Park, Chris Nicholson Joshua Tree National Park, Chris Nicholson Mount Rainier National Park, Chris Nicholson Olympic National Park, Chris Nicholson 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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