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Posted 06/03/2021
Every now and again there are conversations that flow and sparkle; they seem laden with professional insights and creative gems. Our chat with photographer Mona Kuhn is one, and perhaps it’s Kuhn’s self-awareness, her quiet confidence, and an ability to articulate her motivations that make it so. There are few who will disagree that her visual stories, her portraits, nudes, landscapes, and photo essays are among the most assured in contemporary photography, and on this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast we just revel in her good humor and willingness to share process. We speak a good deal about Kuhn’s new book Mona Kuhn: Works, and how it distills twenty years of an evolving career without ever seeming like a “retrospective.” We discuss editing strategies for this and previous books, how she created her intimate series, and why the sustained connections and relationships with her subjects are, to Kuhn, the most successful results of her extremely well-regarded work. As mentioned, she is very generous with her thoughts on photography, on how she used photo techniques to avoid the “gratuitous presence of the nude” and that the human figures she photographs are used to communicate “beyond just what you see.” She also references the work of Mike Disfarmer, how the square Hasselblad format forced her to be creative when photographing the “rectangular” human body. In the second half of the program, we cover aspects of her commissioned work and the satisfaction of being spontaneous in editorial work and of exercising the “problem-solving side of your brain” in the commercial sphere. We also discuss the differences between stories told in a book compared to a gallery, how she is comfortable on a monitor using Lightroom, but her book edits need to be printed and arranged physically to cull and order into “visual sentences.” Finally, Kuhn offers a very nuanced thought on the meaning of her personal images, encouraging “a dialogue of meanings” and noting that sometimes "quiet images last longer.” Join us for this delightful chat and have a look at Kuhn’s other new book, Study, from TBW Books. Guest: Mona Kuhn Photograph © Mona Kuhn Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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Posted 04/22/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we focus on the work of photographer Todd Webb and, specifically, the series of images he created in Africa in 1958, while on assignment for the United Nations. We are joined by Betsy Evans Hunt, the Executive Director of the Todd Webb Archive, and by Aimée Bessire and Erin Hyde Nolan, coauthors of the new book, Todd Webb in Africa—Outside the Frame. With our guests, we discuss the photographic career of Todd Webb, including his work in New York and Paris in the 1940s and 1950s, and the founding and mission of the Todd Webb Archive. Our primary topic, however, is the rediscovery (in a steamer trunk) and eventual archiving and publishing of Webb’s photographs taken in several African nations over the course of a multi-month assignment organized by the United Nations. The images are notable not only for their fateful recovery but for their large and medium format color composition and intelligent eye; they tell a vibrant story of Africa at a moment between colonization and independence. With authors Bessire and Nolan, we discuss the making of their book, which is both a photography book of unique vision and a multifaceted study of the images themselves, with essays and interviews providing historical context and cultural and artistic analysis. Join us for this conversation on the work of an overlooked 20th-century master photographer and on a sweeping series of color photos that sat unseen for almost 60 years. Guests: Betsy Evans Hunt, Aimée Bessire, and Erin Hyde Nolan Photograph © Todd Webb Cover, “Todd Webb in Africa – Outside the Frame” © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive © Todd Webb, 1958/Todd Webb Archive Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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Posted 03/18/2021
Eye-catching and grotesque are words not often placed together, but those accurate descriptors are part of the charm and beauty in the still life and food photography of Emma Ressel. Ressel joins us on this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast to talk about her work, which takes inspiration from, among other things, Dutch Master paintings and her own upbringing in Maine. We discuss with Ressel the evolution of her work and how she attempts to balance the genres of food photography and still life. Many of her images contain aspects of decay and death, and in her personal fine art photography, food is one way to address these topics. She also is a commercial photographer of food, wine, and still life work commissioned by New York Magazine, Refinery29, and other publications and clients. Ressel works with both a 4 x 5" Toya medium format film camera and with a Nikon DSLR, and we find out how and why she chooses which system to utilize. We also talk about her varied lighting choices and how she came to food photography not knowing much about professional workflows and food stylists and how that may have helped her define her look. She is very hands-on with her work, and we discuss sourcing items as diverse as coral snakes and pig’s heads. We also consider issues of waste and overconsumption and how her work attempts to deal with those ideas within an industry that uses food for purposes not directly related to human sustenance. Ressel also tells us about an inspiring artists residency in which she tackled the subject of a decaying whale carcass. This is a very well-rounded conversation, at ease discussing the technical issues of using a view camera as easily as literary inspiration, and how to walk the fine line between working as a commercial food photographer and pushing the genre to uncomfortable new places. Join us for a listen and have a look at Ressel’s Artfare page to see her larger prints. Guest: Emma Ressel Photograph © Emma Ressel From “Trouble in the Garden” © Emma Ressel From “Trouble in the Garden” © Emma Ressel From “Trouble in the Garden” © Emma Ressel From “Olives in the Street” © Emma Ressel From “Olives in the Street” © Emma Ressel From “Olives in the Street” © Emma Ressel From “Insatiable Hunger and the Peacock’s Plume” © Emma Ressel Commission for New York Magazine © Emma Ressel Commission for Wines of Sicily/Refinery29 © Emma Ressel © Emma Ressel Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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Posted 01/28/2021
Photography has long been used as a tool to explore and analyze history, but in the hands of an artist, that same tool is not asked to be exacting or accurate to the historical record. If anything, artists challenge this idea of photography as fact. And for this reason, it is such a pleasure to welcome artist and photographer Barbara Mensch to the B&H Photography Podcast. Mensch has created a book of history by using photographs she took as an artist. Having lived in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge for many years, she photographed the bridge in varied light and perspective, but it was not until she ventured inside the bridge's anchorage that she become interested in using her photographic story as the basis for a researched and nuanced study of the three principle creators of the Brooklyn Bridge. The book, In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators, is the successful result of her work, and we talk with Mensch about reevaluating older work, the endurance needed to complete a long project, the ability of photography to tell stories, and about square format and Hasselblad. In the second half of the program, we take up Mensch’s current book project, which also re-addresses earlier work, in this case from her wonderful series on the workers of the South Street Seaport or, as it was then called, the “waterfront.” Here we discuss the intrapersonal skills needed to photograph in authentic, yet potentially dangerous situations, the creative and youthful zeal that fuels such projects, and even about Bergger photography paper. Join us for this engaging conversation. Guest: Barbara Mensch Photographs © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch From “In the Shadow of Genius: The Brooklyn Bridge and Its Creators” © Barbara Mensch Klebber’s Murder © Barbara Mensch Child in Shoe Bin, Lower East Side © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch From the upcoming book, "Ghosts of South Street" © Barbara Mensch Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 10/22/2020
In the 1970s, under the aegis of the Great Society’s Model Cities Program, photographer Earlie Hudnall, Jr. began to document the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Houston’s 3rd, 4th, and 5th wards, and for more than forty years he has continued to create an indelible portrait of life in these neighborhoods. To be sure, Hudnall has photographed all around the world, and worked for years as the photographer for Texas Southern University, but it is his images of the people of Houston that we discuss today, and that are included in his current exhibition at the Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery in Dallas, running through October 31, 2020. On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we talk with Hudnall about the relationship between the stories he tells with his images and those he grew up with in his native Mississippi; how the tradition, culture, and community of his youth reveal themselves in the faces and facades of modern Houston. We also talk about his organic approach to photography and how respect for his subjects informs his process, and how eye contact and body language are tools to connect with people on the street. Hudnall is old school—he works with digital cameras when needed—but his Hasselblad and Nikon film cameras are his primary tools and he discusses why he chooses one over the other to make a particular image. Hudnall also prints his photographs, so we talk about sourcing supplies, Ilford paper, and darkroom techniques. And while we do get into camera talk and a “sweet, sweet, sweet, soft Rolleiflex,” much of our conversation with Hudnall focuses on how memory and inspiration react in a moment to create a powerful image and how staying sensitive to your surroundings will serve your imaging. It is a joy to listen to Hudnall; please join us for this conversation. Guest: Earlie Hudnall, Jr. Photograph © Earlie Hudnall, Jr. Mr. Shine, 3rd Ward, Houston, 1988 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Girl with Flag, 3rd Ward, Houston, 1991 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Hip Hop, Galveston, TX, 1993 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Looking Out, 3rd Ward, Houston, TX, 1991 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Feeling the Spirit, 3rd Ward, Houston, TX, 1987 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Boy Eastern Star, 3rd Ward, Houston, TX, 1984, © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, T Roots, 1997 © Earlie Hudnall, Jr., courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas, TX Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 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 06/23/2017
On August 21, 2017 there will be a total solar eclipse passing across the United States from the northwest to the southeast. While the path of totality will be in the center of the country, at least 60% obscuration will be seen throughout the U.S. and into Canada and Mexico. This is a historic event and millions of people will be viewing and photographing it. On today’s episode, we will discuss the what, when, and where of the eclipse and concentrate on the best and safest ways to view and photograph it. Joining us for this discussion are Senior Staff Writer Christopher Witt, our in-house telescope and optics expert, and B&H Photography Podcast veteran Todd Vorenkamp, who will explore the best ways for novices as well as experts to view and photograph the eclipse. After a break, we welcome noted astronomer and photographer Dr. Tyler Nordgren who will offer his thoughts on the eclipse and explain why it might be best to not photograph this eclipse. Finally, we will be joined by Dr. Laura Peticolas from the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. Laura will discuss her plans for the eclipse, specifically discussing the Eclipse Megamovie project, a crowd-sourcing effort to collect and share images across the path of totality. Join us for a multi-faceted conversation about this once-in-a-lifetime event. Guests: Dr. Tyler Nordgren, Dr. Laura Peticolas, Christopher Witt, Todd Vorenkamp Route of 2017 solar eclipse across United States Global map of 2017 solar eclipse The 2013 eclipse as seen from the deck of a four-masted sailing ship racing across the Atlantic Ocean, totality was 42 seconds long. Photograph by Tyler Nordgren My first eclipse photo that I took in 1999 superimposed on the Hungarian stamp I bought there commemorating the eclipse by showing its path across the country. Photograph by Tyler Nordgren A petroglyph in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico showing what could be a 1000 year old solar eclipse. Photograph by Tyler Nordgren A partial phase of an eclipse just a minute or two before totality in the Faroe Islands. Those clouds totally socked us all in 30 seconds before totality so we saw nothing. Photograph by Tyler Nordgren The 2012 partial solar eclipse in San Diego, California with approximately 76% obscuration. Photograph by Todd Vorenkamp The sun photographed with a 50mm lens on a full frame camera with Mylar white light solar filter. Photograph by Todd Vorenkamp The sun photographed with a 300mm lens on an APS-C sensor camera with Mylar white light solar filter. Photograph by Todd Vorenkamp The sun photographed with a 300mm lens on APS-C sensor camera using a DayStar Camera Quark Hydrogen-alpha filter. Photograph by Todd Vorenkamp Photographing the sun with a 300mm lens on APS-C sensor camera using a DayStar Camera Quark Hydrogen-alpha filter and iOptron Sky Guider Pro Tracking Mount Mylar white light filter. Photograph by Todd Vorenkamp Digiscoping with iPhone and Skywatcher Virtuoso Telescope with Motorized Mount and Carson HookUpz 2.0. Photograph by Christopher Witt Prime-focus solar photography through a Sky Watcher Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope with Canon DSLR, on Sky Watcher Virtuoso motorized mount. Photograph by Christopher Witt 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 03/17/2017
For this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we replace the camera in our hand with a game controller, but if artistic interpretation of your surroundings is the goal, is there any difference between the two? Today, we talk gaming and photography and, specifically, the practice of in-game or virtual photography. While grabbing a screenshot of your high score is nothing new, using a gaming system’s increasingly advanced photo tools to capture images of the gaming world in which you are immersed is becoming a discipline unto itself. For sure, some gamers are still looking to show off their accomplishments and share them with fellow gamers, but others approach it as a landscape photographer, documentarian or combat photographer might, utilizing light and exposure controls to create dramatic images that showcase or even surpass those created by the game itself. We are joined today by our in-house gaming expert, Akeem Addy, as well as Tobias Andersson, Senior Producer of the Hunter: Call of the Wild, by Avalanche Studios, and two gamers who have explored in-game photography from distinctive perspectives, photographer Leo Sang and artist Eron Rauch. We also take time to talk a bit about the history of in-game photography and suggest games with some of the strongest photo tools. The debate about whether this is “real” photography will rage on. However, our guests are over that, not only creating beautiful and interesting photos, but elevating the dialogue to create images that question the relationship between the virtual and the “work-a-day” world. Join us for this multi-faceted episode and let us know your thoughts on gaming and photography—and even share with us your best images on Twitter @BHPhotoVideo with #BhPhotoPodcast. Guests: Akeem Addy, Tobias Andersson, Leo Sang, and Eron Rauch © Battlefield 1 Image by Leo Sang © Battlefield 1 Image by Leo Sang © Ghost Recon: Wildlands Image by Leo Sang © Grand Theft Auto V Image by Leo Sang Made with NVIDIA Ansel Image by Leo Sang From the series A Land to Die In by Eron Rauch From the Series A Land to Die In by Eron Rauch From the series A Land to Die In by Eron Rauch From the series Arcana by Eron Rauch From the series Valhalla Nocturnes by Eron Rauch © theHunter: Call of the Wild, courtesy Avalanche Studios © theHunter: Call of the Wild, courtesy Avalanche Studios © theHunter: Call of the Wild, courtesy Avalanche Studios © theHunter: Call of the Wild, courtesy Avalanche Studios Previous Pause Next DON'T MISS AN EPISODE SUBSCRIBE NOW:   Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 09/08/2016
In Part II of our series on astrophotography, we talk with Ian Norman, founder of Lonely Speck, a site dedicated to making astrophotography easy and accessible to all photographers. The website is loaded with great advice, gear reviews, and simple tutorials on how to photograph the night sky and specifically, the Milky Way. Our conversation with Ian centers on his development as a photographer and provides many tips on how, with very affordable equipment and apps and basic processing, you can create stunning dark sky images. As you will hear, Norman, like his website, is all about sharing experiences and advice on how to simplify and improve your photography. As he says, “there are few photographs that have as much existential impact as a nighttime landscape against the Milky Way.” Join us for this educational and inspirational episode. Guests: Ian Norman Photo: Ian Norman, LonelySpeck.com Last week's episode, Shooting Stars, Part I – Imaging from the Hubble Telescope Trona Pinnacles looking south with Milky Way Lone Pinnacle, Pinnacles National Park and Milky Way Eastern Sierras by moonlight and the Milky Way Milky Way and Alabama Hills Diana Southern and the Heavens Above Her Diana Southern, Allan Weitz, and Ian Norman Don't miss an episode! Subscribe on iTunes;   Stitcher; and  Google Play         Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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Posted 09/02/2016
In the first of our two-part series on astrophotography, we are fortunate to be joined by two scientists responsible for some of the most awe-inspiring images ever created. Astrophysicist Dr. Jeff Hester was a member of the team that built the camera on the Hubble Space Telescope and is credited with taking the “Pillars of Creation,” an extraordinary image of the Eagle Nebula that has been selected by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential photographs in history. Dr. Hester tells us about his time working on the Hubble and how this image was created, as well as offering his insight on the nature of beauty and the relationship between science and art (Hint: They’re not as different as you might think.) Also participating in our conversation is Zoltan Levay, the Imaging Team Leader at the Space Telescope Science Institute, whose principal responsibility is to produce and publicize pictures from the Hubble. Mr. Levay discusses the relative nature of color, his techniques for coloring and composing photographs, and the differences between the images that come to him as “data” from the telescope and the published images with which we are more familiar. Again, science and art blend as we ask why certain colors are chosen to represent various celestial bodies, and come to realize that the decisions made and processes used in the top tiers of astrophotography are not that different from those we ourselves make in our own post-processing. Guests: Zoltan Levay and Dr. Jeff Hester Next week’s episode, Shooting Stars, Part II- Deep Sky DIY The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the individual guests and do not necessarily represent the views of B&H Photo. Bubble Nebula NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) The “Pillars of Creation” from the Eagle Nebula NASA, ESA, STScI, J. Hester and P. Scowen (Arizona State University) Carina Nebula Mosaic NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of California, Berkeley), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) Galaxy Cluster Abell 2744 NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz (STScI) Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300 NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) Image Processing Workflow Image Courtesy of Zoltan Levay and STScI Don't miss an episode! Subscribe on iTunes;   Stitcher; and  Google Play         Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves
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