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Posted 07/15/2021
On this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we are thrilled to help celebrate the first anniversary of Black Women Photographers. Founded in July 2020 by Polly Irungu, the mission of Black Women Photographers is to “disrupt the notion that it is difficult to discover and commission Black creatives.” And toward that goal, BWP is now a global organization of more than 600 members, and as an online directory, has become a home for Black women and non-binary photographers to receive proper recognition and, most importantly, to get hired. We welcome Polly Irungu to discuss the founding of BWP, and to talk about the challenges and joys of running an organization that has blossomed so quickly, and about the successes of the past year and goals for the future. On that note, Irungu thrills us by announcing new grants available to photographers. We are also joined by photographer Dawn Bangi, who received her first professional assignment—with the New York Times, no less—through Black Women Photographers. We ask Bangi how she became familiar with BWP and about the assignment she received. We also discuss her other work, the Nikon and Mamiya gear she uses, and the influence of Gordon Parks. Join us for this inspiring episode and discover some of the great work found at Black Women Photographers. Guests: Polly Irungu and Dawn Bangi Photograph © Polly Irungu © Polly Irungu © Polly Irungu © Polly Irungu Courtesy of Polly Irungu/Black Women Photographers © Dawn Bangi/New York Times From the “Davin and Davis series” © Dawn Bangi From the “Davin and Davis series” © Dawn Bangi From the “Davin and Davis series” © Dawn Bangi 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 06/30/2021
In support of the 2021 OPTIC Outdoor, Photo/Video, Travel Imaging Conference, to be held online July 11-12, 2021, the B&H Photography Podcast team conducted our own photo walk, much like they do as part of the OPTIC Conference events. For this episode we took our cameras and microphones to the beautiful Elizabeth Park Rose Garden, in West Hartford, Connecticut, and, with Allan as the group’s leader and Jason and I as participants, we completed several photo challenges and practiced our photography and storytelling techniques. Since this is a virtual and audio photo walk, we encourage our listeners to participate on your own time and in convenient locations, such as a local park or even your backyard. The episode is designed so that you can pause the recording after the challenge has been assigned and complete it on your own. You can also just listen as we work through our assigned shots with Allan fielding our questions. The gear we use is our own, nothing fancy, and the various challenges can be completed with almost any camera-and-lens combination. For my part, I am using a full-frame Nikon DSLR with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and Jason is using a full-frame Sony Alpha mirrorless camera with a Sony wide-angle lens and the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 lens. Assigned shots incorporate wide-angle and telephoto perspectives and utilize basic photo techniques, controlling aperture and shutter speed for varied affects, and applying ideas on composition, shadow, detail, and narrative. There is even a macro photography bonus challenge at the end of the episode, so bring that lens, too, if you have it. We look forward to “hanging out” with you in this virtual setting, as we do to soon returning to “IRL” photo walks with old and new friends. With that in mind, check out the OPTIC Conference events page with two days of online presentations, and register for the free conference hosted by B&H Photo and sponsored by Canon, Nikon, Sony, Sigma, Godox, and many others. Photograph © Jason Tables Photograph © Jason Tables Photograph © Jason Tables Photograph © Jason Tables Photograph © Jason Tables Photograph © Jason Tables Photograph © John Harris Photograph © John Harris Photograph © John Harris Photograph © John Harris Photograph © John Harris Photograph © Allan Weitz Photograph © John Harris 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 06/03/2021
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 10/14/2020
Recognized as a premier headshot and portrait photographer, Peter Hurley has quite the tale to tell. His work is known for the genuine expressions he captures, and he has expanded his business into an international organization. He is also an in-demand speaker and photo educator, but Hurley has an interesting “origin story” when it comes to photography, and we will discuss how he went from being a competitive sailor to a model to a photographer and how sailing remains an integral part of his creative life. This week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is a casual but insightful conversation about life’s twists and turns taking you to a place you never expected and how being open to challenges and to advice can motivate creativity. Sometimes “failing” is the best way to find your success, and Hurley tells us about competing for the U.S. Sailing Team and how accepting opportunities that seemed far from his initial goal led him to photography. We also talk about how he turned his headshot business into the “ Headshot Crew ” and now coaches and disperses work to a network of photographers around the world. Throughout the conversation, we touch on tips to improve your own portrait and headshot game, and Hurley mentions the lighting kit he has created with Westcott. We also discuss the “10,000 Headshot” project, for which he helped to organize his network of photographers to aid folks left unemployed by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the support of Canon and others, members of the Headshot Crew have photographed thousands of people, creating free headshots for anyone out of work. And as we discuss, a quality headshot is increasingly important in the “work from home” era. Join us for this enjoyable conversation. Guest: Peter Hurley Photograph © Peter Hurley Alfredo Plessman III © Peter Hurley Ben Yannette © Peter Hurley Carina Goldbach © Peter Hurley Deborah Robinson © Peter Hurley Fernando Romero © Peter Hurley Jan McCay © Peter Hurley Nancy Randall © Peter Hurley March Palou © Peter Hurley 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 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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