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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 12/31/2020
For our final episode of 2020, we look back at the year that was—and what a year it was. We learned new remote recording skills and virtual conversation styles, but the B&H Photography Podcast never missed a beat; we recorded an episode the very first week of quarantine and have continued recording throughout this unprecedented time. Many aspects of this production were made significantly more difficult by being “all remote,” but it did allow us to speak with photographers around the world and those who could never have made it into our humble but homey studio. On this week’s episode, we run down the list of episodes we recorded this year, which included conversations with legends of sports photography, of fine art photography, of photo education, and even with a supermodel and with a television celebrity. Of course, we also talked about the latest camera releases and the “best” cameras of 2020. Allan, Jason, and I each relate our favorite episodes from the year and mention some of the episodes that were best received by our listeners. And because this year we had many conversations about photography books, we also mention a few of our favorite books from 2020. Join us for this casual recounting of podcasts from a year no one will soon forget. Photograph © Karles Vives, winner of the 2020 B&H Photography Podcast Leica Challenge Allan Weitz, Adriane Ohanesian, and Nancy Borowick, 2020 © John Harris Allan Weitz and Sebastian Meyer, 2020 © John Harris Allan Weitz, Joseph Holmes, and Sara Bennett, 2020 © John Harris Allan Weitz and Shari Belafonte, 2020 © John Harris Clyde Butcher and John Harris, 2020 © Niki 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 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 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 08/27/2020
One of the remarks that stuck with me from this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast was Alison Rossiter’s casual mention, “I know how to rock a tray.” Rossiter is noted for her cameraless fine art photo prints, often made on expired photographic paper, some sheets dating back one hundred years or more. Her comment was a simple reference to how she guides developing solution over paper in the darkroom, but understanding the time and dedication she has put into her darkroom techniques, it seemed the ideal understatement for her refined yet simple processes, which include traditional photo printing, photograms, light drawings, and her current exploration, which enables vintage photo paper to speak for itself, processed and fixed, but free from the bullying dominance of projected light. With her ongoing exhibit, Substance of Density 1918-1948, at the Yossi Milo gallery, through September 26, 2020, Rossiter presents a “chronology of assemblages” made of expired photographic papers from her personal collection. Papers chosen from specific years create a minimalist narrative through three specific decades of the 20th Century, suggesting a relationship between these photographic “leftovers” and historical events of those years. The exposed photo papers are grouped and presented in such a way as to form dynamic abstract compositions, made more contemplative by the papers' own histories. The work is a creative comment on a range of themes fundamental to 20th-century film photography: archival preservation, industrial production, physical and chemical degradation, social justice, and even the medium’s creative response to painting and sculpture. With Rossiter, we speak about her darkroom techniques and supplies, about her evolution to cameraless photography, about sourcing expired paper, and the incredible gifts she has received in that regard. We also discuss the thrill of developing paper to find the clues of previous owners and the “fails” of the aged emulsion. Primarily, we revel in imagination and the stories that can be told when the past speaks to us through the still-verdant magic of the darkroom. Join us for this unique episode. Guest: Alison Rossiter Photograph © Alison Rossiter Eastman Kodak Azo, expired March 1918, processed 2010 © Alison Rossiter, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York Density 1919, processed 2010 © Alison Rossiter, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York Density 1936, processed 2020 © Alison Rossiter, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York Density 1921, 1922, 1923, processed 2019 © Alison Rossiter, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York Density 1938-1945, processed 2020 © Alison Rossiter, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York Density 1932-1938, processed 2020 © Alison Rossiter, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York Density 1941, 1945, processed 2020 © Alison Rossiter, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York Gevaert Gevaluxe Velours, exact expiration date unknown, ca. 1930s, processed 2020 © Alison Rossiter, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 06/10/2020
On today's episode of the  B&H Photography Podcast, we are joined by Craig Semetko, a documentary and street photographer who is much more than those two descriptors. He came to photography from a career in performance and comedy and that makes a lot of sense, noting the observational skill and humor found in his compositions. His first book, UNPOSED, published in 2010, with a forward by Elliott Erwitt, was followed by India Unposed, in 2014. Sly, ironic, absurd, all come to mind when you see the moments he captures and we talk about how it’s hard to photograph “funny,” about attitudes and techniques, and the difference between laughing with someone and at them. We also ask about the work he has done during the pandemic shutdown. After a break, we welcome photographer Ashly Stohl. A Leica Ambassador, Stohl’s best known work concentrates on her family, particularly her three children. She is also the publisher and co-founder of Peanut Press, begun in 2015 with her first book, Charth Vader, which takes a look at her youngest son, clearly a big fan of Star Wars. Her second book, Days and Years, follows up with an intimate portrait of her three children. A quote from Stohl sums it up: “There is a saying that all portraits are really self-portraits. So, what are portraits of your kids? They are portraits of a parent. I take pictures of my kids, and if you’ll look closely you’ll also see me in there—my worries and fears, my attempts to correct the problems of my own childhood, my heart and my struggles.” Join us for this inspiring and enjoyable episode with two wonderful guests. Guests: Ashly Stohl and Craig Semetko Photograph © Craig Semetko From “Charth Vader” © Ashly Stohl From “Charth Vader” © Ashly Stohl From “Charth Vader” © Ashly Stohl From “Days and Years” © Ashly Stohl From “Days and Years” © Ashly Stohl From “Days and Years” © Ashly Stohl Life During Lockdown I © Craig Semetko Life During Lockdown I © Craig Semetko Life During Lockdown I © Craig Semetko From “UNPOSED” © Craig Semetko From “India Unposed” © Craig Semetko From “India Unposed” © Craig Semetko Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 06/02/2020
We encourage all of our listeners to register for the free digital online edition of the Outdoor Photo/Video Travel Imaging Conference (OPTIC) 2020, hosted by B&H and sponsored by Panasonic, Sony, Nikon, Canon, FUJIFILM, Godox, and many others. As most of you know, the B&H Photography Podcast has regularly attended this annual conference, in New York, and recorded wonderful interviews with the likes of Michael Kenna, Joyce Tenneson, and Ron Magill. This year, the conference will be held online, but still with an incredible lineup of photographers and speakers, including keynote speakers Ami Vitale and Clyde Butcher. On today’s episode of the podcast, we offer a taste of the photographic insight found at OPTIC. First, we welcome wildlife and bird photographer Lisa Langell, who is also at Tamron and FotoPro Ambassador. With her photo gracing the cover of the current issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine, Langell discusses creating wildlife photography for the home and hotel décor market, about her favorite places in Alaska to photograph bear, and about the personal and interactive way she hosts seminars and webinars. She provides food for thought to those looking for new ways to photograph wildlife. After a break, we welcome National Geographic photographer and Sony Artisan of Light Pete McBride. McBride speaks of his amazing 750-mile walk across the Grand Canyon, which became a NatGeo story, and also a book and a feature-length documentary. At OPTIC you will get the full story—from “River to Rim”—along with images, but we also spoke with McBride about his long-term work shooting the world’s river systems; we gained some insight into aerial photography; and learned how his Sony a7RII weathered a year in the Grand Canyon—and with which he created not only a magazine story, but a book and a movie with that one camera. Guests: Lisa Langell and Pete McBride Photograph © Lisa Langell Aerial of the last time the Colorado River kissed the sea—during a pulse flow for restoration work. The connection lasted two days in 2014. The delta has been dry since. © Pete McBride Iceland River Delta © Pete McBride Black obsidian sand, silvery glacial rivers, and moss green volcanoes make up this vast Icelandic landscape. © Pete McBride Devprayag, India. Confluence of the Bagirathi and Alakanda rivers—the physical start of the Gagnes River © Pete McBride “Grand Canyon: From River to Rim” by Pete McBride Aerial view of the Colorado River winding through the Grand Canyon, Arizona © Pete McBride A day of traffic, 362 individual helicopter flights, merged into one frame to show what the collective soundscape and average traffic looks like along the western Grand Canyon border © Pete McBride © Lisa Langell © Lisa Langell © Lisa Langell © Lisa Langell © Lisa Langell © Lisa Langell Previous Pause Next   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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