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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 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 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 09/20/2017
This week, we took our mics and questions to Photoville, the free nine-day photography festival held in in the shadow of the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge. With exhibitions held in re-purposed shipping containers and on fences throughout the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, not only does Photoville offer a variety of incredible photography series, but it integrates seamlessly into its urban home. In its sixth year, Photoville Brooklyn has grown to include evening programming, lectures, panels, and workshops. Photoville, founded and run by United Photo Industries, has expanded to seven cities with plans for three more in 2018. The wealth of visual storytelling at Photoville is impressive—in our afternoon visit we saw exhibitions from every corner of the world, touching on the important issues of our day, and passing through all photographic genres. While there, we spoke with several photographers and curators about their work, as well as Photoville co-founder Laura Roumanos. Join our conversations with Daniella Zalcman of Women Photograph on their exhibition “Insider/Outsider,” with Sergeant John Martinez of the United States Marine Corps, about the series “ Battles Won,” and with the Director of Photography of The Player’s Tribune, Nate Gordon. We also speak with Rachel Dennis and Julie Winokur, of Talking Eyes Media, about their multimedia exhibit “Newest Americans,” organized in coordination with the Center for Migration and the Global City at Rutgers University, Newark, and the VII Photo Agency. Photography festivals and workshops are a gift to photographers and non-photographers alike. Join us as we find inspiration and motivation from the incredible image-makers found at Photovilleand, if you are in New York, check out all the exhibitions and activities yourself, from September 21-24, 2017. Guests: Laura Roumanos, Daniella Zalcman, Nate Gordon, Sgt. John Martinez, and Rachel Dennis Photoville Brooklyn, with Brooklyn Bridge and downtown New York across the East River All available space at Photoville is used to exhibit photography. Interior of container exhibit, “The Blood and the Rain,” by Yael Martinez and Orlando Velazquez Allan Weitz at Photoville; photographs in background by Lynn Johnson Allan Weitz, Laura Roumanos (Co-founder and Executive Producer of Photoville), and Jason Tables Container exhibit, “Battles Won,” from United States Marine Corps Sgt. John Martinez presents his photography in the exhibit, “Battles Won.” Container exhibit, “Battles Won,” from United States Marine Corps School children visit the exhibit, “Facing Change: Documenting Detroit.” From the exhibit, “Insider/Outsider,” photograph by Yagazie Emezi From the exhibit “Insider/Outsider,” photograph by Griselda San Martin From the exhibit, “Insider/Outsider,” photograph by Annie Tritt from her project, “Transcending Self” Nate Gordon (Director of Photography, “The Player’s Tribune”) with Allan Weitz and Jason Tables New York Liberty players, photograph by Annie Flanagan/The Players' Tribune Pop Warner Football, photograph by Walter Iooss Jr./The Players' Tribune Markelle Fultz pumping gas, photograph by Sam Maller/The Players' Tribune Ricardo Lockette, photograph by Taylor Baucom/The Players Tribune “The Family Imprint,” a photo series by Nancy Borowick, is displayed on a fence in the Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO, near Photoville. Allan Weitz and Jason Tables at Photoville Brooklyn 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 06/02/2017
It’s a short week here at the B&H Photography Podcast, so we thought we’d take care of some cleaning that we have put off all winter. Unless one is a full-time pro or serious enthusiast, most of one’s photography is done in the fairer months of spring and summer, whether that be on family vacations, at sporting events, weekend picnics, or just working out that macro lens in the garden. So, it’s time to pull the camera bag from the closet and give our gear a quick once-over to make sure everything is in working order. In this episode, we discuss little ways to maintain cameras and lenses, and things to do to prepare them for the shooting season. From firmware upgrades to mode settings to dust and grease removal, there is a lot you can do in a short time to better understand your camera and to keep it functioning smoothly. In the second half of the show, we continue our serial “Dispatch,” with Adriane Ohanesian. This ongoing segment takes an inside look at the life and work of a freelance photojournalist working in East Africa. In this episode, Ohanesian updates us on her coverage of the conflict in Somalia as she spends time embedded with African Union troops and travels north, to photograph the effects of the ongoing drought in Puntland. She discusses being contracted by the International Rescue Committee to document the refugees “flowing” from war-torn South Sudan to settlement camps in Uganda and, finally, analyzes the risks and expenses freelance photographers take on while working in conflict zones—and the often adverse objectives of news organizations and NGOs. Guests: Todd Vorenkamp and Adriane Ohanesian Click here if you missed Episode 1 of "Dispatch." Photographs © Adriane Ohanesian Mohamed Abdi Bare, age 4, stares at the line of people inside of the waiting area at the Department of Refugee Affairs office in Shauri Moyo, Nairobi, Kenya, January, 2017. Ugandan African Union armored personnel carriers at dusk along the Afgooye road outside of Mogadishu, Somalia, February, 2017. The Ugandan African Union Special Forces wait inside of an armored personnel carrier during a night patrol in Mogadishu, Somalia, February, 2017. The shelters of nearly 400 pastoralists families who have lost a majority of their livestock due to drought, have set up camp along the road in search of food and water in Uusgure, Puntland, Somalia, February, 2017. Severely malnourished, Farhiyah, age 2, lies on the floor of her family’s hut where she stays with her three siblings and mother who came to the area in search of food and water in Uusgure, Puntland, Somalia, February, 2017. The remains of dead goats lie next to the road in Puntland, Somalia, February, 2017. South Sudanese gather to collect their belongings that were transported to the Imvepi settlement for South Sudanese refugees who have fled to northern Uganda. March, 2017. Previous Pause Next DON'T MISS AN EPISODE SUBSCRIBE NOW:   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 05/12/2017
A simple twist of fate (OK, I clicked a link) introduced me to the wedding photography of Jide Alakija and I immediately knew he should be a guest on the podcast. His work falls into the category of documentary wedding photography, but the intimate connection he seems to make with his subjects, as well as his compositional skills, place his work above the popular trend of fly-on-the-wall work. He captures moments of humor, tenderness, and joy that many photographers would miss, but still fills a frame the way Grandma wants the photos on her mantel to look. We talk about his composition decisions and shooting techniques, but we also wanted him on the show because his work brings him to many different countries and cultures. With this in mind, we take on numerous aspects of traveling to shoot a wedding, whether that is a "destination" wedding or simply being invited to shoot a wedding far from home. Our conversation includes the practical side of travel—what gear to bring, who to hire as an assistant, how to budget—but we also discuss the intricacies of working in a locale where you are not familiar with the cultural traditions and may not even speak the language. Join us for a lively chat with our new friend, Jide Alakija. Guest: Jide Alakija Jide Alakija and Allan Weitz Previous Pause Next All Photographs by Jide Alakija 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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