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Posted 01/20/2022
Conflict photography of the past twenty years is a subject we have discussed in previous episodes with photographers, psychologists, and scholars, but our very welcomed guest, photographer Peter van Agtmael, adds his well-articulated thoughts on the subject, including his own motivations and challenges while covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the ramifications of those wars here in the United States and elsewhere. On this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we reflect on the mindset of a young man wanting to bear witness to history and the evolution of his thoughts after many assignments and embeds. We also learn about aspects of his work, from the intra-personal to the technical, and how these have also changed over the course of an almost two-decade career. The work of van Agtmael has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, and The New Yorker, and he is a Guggenheim Fellow, a winner of multiple World Press Awards, and a member of the Magnum Agency. He has also authored several books of his work, which take a deeper narrative and conceptual dive into his images from this same general body of work. van Agtmael is not alone in this endeavor, but it is this balance, this ability to conceptualize his work within the news sphere and in the nuanced context of a personal photo book that is quite interesting. Quiet images from ten years ago have a tragic power today. His most recent book, Sorry for the War, a subtle and powerful exploration of the disconnect between the United States home front and the actual wars themselves, is the main topic during the second half of the show, and we discuss the differences between this and his other books. We talk about the editing process, collaboration, and the formal decisions that go into making a book that is meant to be a historical as well as a personal statement. We also take a minute to talk about gear choices, the aesthetics of technical limits, and we hear about stories he’s covered as disparate as earthquakes in Haiti, Hollywood award tours, and recent politics and protest. Throughout, van Agtmael offers insightful answers to the very complicated questions posed by and of contemporary photojournalism. Please join us, and also check out his work with  The Arab Documentary Photography Program. Guest: Peter van Agtmael Photograph © Peter van Agtmael From “Disco Night Sept 11” Photograph © Peter van Agtmael From “Disco Night Sept 11” Photograph © Peter van Agtmael From “Sorry for the War” Photograph © Peter van Agtmael From “Sorry for the War” Photograph © Peter van Agtmael From “Sorry for the War” Photograph © Peter van Agtmael From “Sorry for the War” Photograph © Peter van Agtmael Georgia de la Garza, a local environmental activist, is pictured from inside an abandoned house near the Eagle River Coal Mines-Franks LLC in Harrisburg, Illinois, USA 2017. Photograph © Peter van Agtmael Protestors objecting to the certification of Joe Biden by Congress storm the Capitol. Washington DC, USA, 2020. © Peter van Agtmael 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 01/13/2022
The B&H Photography Podcast is kicking off the new year hot. For our first episode of 2022, we welcome photographer Joe McNally to discuss his career, his working methods, and his exciting new book, The Real Deal: Field Notes from the Life of a Working Photographer. Joe McNally is known to many as a “photographer’s photographer,” skilled in many genres and able to work across the lines of photojournalism, long-form photo essays, portraiture, sports, dance, and even fashion photography. He has worked for National Geographic, Time, LIFE, and Sports Illustrated, and his commercial clients include FedEx, Adidas, Epson, and many more. He is also a Nikon and Capture One ambassador, a World Press Photo Award winner, and an Alfred Eisenstaedt Award recipient, but as he mentions in our conversation, he started at the New York Daily News as a copyboy, “the wretched dog of the newsroom.” Our conversation is easygoing, and we talk with McNally about the beginning of his career and early assignments. We discuss the evolution of photo technology (he shot the first “all-digital” story for National Geographic), and there is much to be gleaned about lighting, gear choices, and custom camera settings. We also talk about self-confidence, research, big budgets, and general thoughts on how to succeed in the ever-changing photo business. McNally also spins a few tales about his more adventurous assignments and the risks and rewards that come from them. In his new book, The Real Deal, McNally candidly shares stories, lessons, and insights he has collected along the way. This is not a dedicated how-to book, nor is it a navel-gazing look back at “the good old days,” because those never really existed anyway. This book is as welcomed and as enjoyable as our conversation. Join us. Guest: Joe McNally Photograph © Joe McNally © Joe McNally, 2021 © Joe McNally, 2021 © Joe McNally, 2021 © Joe McNally, 2021 © Joe McNally, 2021 © Joe McNally, 2021 © Joe McNally, 2021 © Joe McNally, 2021 © Joe McNally, 2021 © Joe McNally, 2021 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 12/30/2021
The B&H Photography Podcast team sends a huge end-of-the-year thank you to our listeners around the world and to the many guests who joined us for our weekly conversations. There’s little need to overstate the difficulties of the past year, but we’re all still here, still taking pictures, and we’re still making this podcast week in, week out. It truly has been a gratifying and unflappable pleasure to produce this show and, hopefully, it continues to provide some insight, some inspiration, and a few good stories. Despite the adjustments of remote recording, or perhaps because of them, we expanded our circle of photography to include conversations on photomicrography, on the fine art nude, on skate photography, and on  photo “how-to” books. We spoke with artists and economists about NFTs, discussed protest photography and issues of community and migration. We had episodes about food and wedding photography, bird photography, the freelance business, and, as always, we did our gear episodes, including the seventh annual Cameras of the Year episode. I encourage you to take a look back at the wide range of subjects we discussed this year and let us know your favorite episodes, as well as topics you’d like us to take on in the new year. Finally, and although this episode is not from 2021, we end this year with an encore presentation of our conversation with rock-n-roll photographer Mick Rock. Sadly, we lost Mick in November, but we’re pleased to present this chat, which was recorded at his home, in Staten Island, and is certainly one of our all-time favorite episodes. Thank you, Mick, and thank you again to our listeners. Happy New Year. Photograph courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro From the episode, “Staying Power—History and Photography, with Barbara Mensch” Photograph © Barbara Mensch From the episode, “Food Photography and Still Life” Photograph © Emma Ressel From the episode, “Connection and Purpose- The Photography of Cheriss May” Photograph © Cheriss May From the episode, “Waltz with Fate—Photographer Misan Harriman” Photograph © Misan Harriman From the episode, “Beautiful Exemptions- The Work of Mona Kuhn” Photograph © Mona Kuhn From the episode, “My Client Was Democracy- Photographing City Halls” Photograph © Arthur Drooker From the episode, “Light Hunters – Art About the Street” Photograph © Clarissa Bonet From the episode, “We Are Our Stuff – Sally Davies’ Portraits of New Yorkers” Photograph © Sally Davies From the episode, “Planes, Trains, and Perspective” Photograph © David Rothenberg From the episode, “Fly-Fishing and Outdoor Photography” Photograph © Jess McGlothlin From the episode, “Sometimes It Takes Time – The Photography of Meryl Meisler” Photograph © Meryl Meisler From the episode, “On-Set and Film Still Photography” Photograph © Barry Wetcher From the episode, “Astrophotography, with Dr. Robert Gendler” Photograph © Robert Gendler From the episode, “Vernacular Photography, with Peter J. Cohen and Bill Shapiro” Photograph Courtesy of the collection of Bill Shapiro Previous Pause Next
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Posted 12/15/2021
We return to our annual Cameras of the Year conversation for today’s installment of the B&H Photography Podcast and, as usual, we welcome a member of the B&H staff who knows these cameras as well as anyone. In addition to being a pro photo sales specialist at the B&H SuperStore, Llinelva De Castro is a wedding and portrait photographer and former proprietor of a family photo studio, in Queens, NY. We are pleased to hear her insights on these featured cameras and to get her sense of the public’s reaction to this new gear. In the running for “2021 Camera of the Year” are certainly the new flagship mirrorless offerings from Nikon, Canon, and  Sony, but there are some surprises when it comes to the cameras we each liked best this year. The Canon EOS R3, Nikon Z 9, and Sony a1 take much of the spotlight of our conversation, but we also discuss new mirrorless, point-and-shoot, and medium format cameras from Panasonic, Sigma, Pentax, Olympus, and several from FUJIFILM. Our conversation also includes mention of new drones and phones, thoughts on the trajectory of the camera industry, and a look back at our favorite cameras from the past five years. Please check out all the photography equipment at the B&H Photo website and in the Comments section, let us know your favorite camera from 2021. Guest: Llinelva De Castro Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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Posted 12/15/2021
We split our time on this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast between one book and many books. In the first half of the show, we learn about an inspirational new book, Among Peers: The United States of Young Photographers, which profiles the work of student photographers from several workshop programs in the United States. We conclude the episode with an overview of the many wonderful books from 2021 that were featured on the podcast. To discuss “ Among Peers, ” we welcome publisher Michelle Dunn Marsh of Minor Matters Books and photography consultant and former director of the Lucie Foundation, Lauren Wendle. As we find out, the book was a creative collaboration between the two, born during the COVID quarantine. It was devised to celebrate the work of young photographers and their mentors, who kept the various programs open and operating throughout the difficult past two years. We learn of their process to fund and edit the book and about the photography mentoring programs themselves. Students from the following programs are represented in the book: NYC Salt, First Exposures—San Francisco; Literacy Through Photography—Houston; Las Fotos Project—Los Angeles; YoungArts—Miami; and Youth in Focus—Seattle. Consider supporting these nonprofit organizations. After a short break, we run down a list of new photography books we presented on the podcast this year, including books as diverse as those by Todd Bigelow, Barbara Mensch, and Mona Kuhn. Join us for this inspiring episode. Guests: Michelle Dunn Marsh and Lauren Wendle Photograph © Jaylen Esparza, Las Fotos Project, Los Angeles Photograph © Gisella Chan, First Exposures, San Francisco, 2020 Photograph © Jaylen Esparza, Las Fotos Project, Los Angeles, 2021 Photograph © Mbhali Edwards, NYC Salt, 2021 Photographs © Jacob Fernandez, First Exposures, San Francisco, 2021 and Jason Babayev, YoungArts, Miami, 2020 Photographs © Sophia Leng, NYC Salt, 2021 and Saham Almehin, First Exposures, San Francisco, 2020 Photograph © Delilah Ponton, First Exposures, San Francisco, 2020 Photographs © Eveyah Garay, Literacy Through Photography, Houston, 2021 and Jay Lundgren, Youth in Focus, Seattle, 2021 Photographs © Ishabela Lopez, NYC Salt, 2021 Photographs © Jayson Rodriguez, YoungArts, Miami, 2019 Photographs © Amber Linares Vasquez and Leilah Rosado, Las Fotos Project, Los Angeles, 2021 Photograph © Ezra Zimmer, First Exposures, San Francisco, 2020 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 12/09/2021
To take photographs on ships or to work in ports and cover maritime transportation requires a full range of photographic know-how, including portraiture, landscape, product, aerial, architecture, corporate—even adventure-photography skills. And that’s just on the first day! On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast we discuss this type of industrial and corporate photography, which at its core is rooted in documentary and visual storytelling. We welcome to the program photographer Nick Souza and writer and photographer Todd Vorenkamp. Nick Souza translated years of photojournalism and sports photography experience into a career as corporate industrial photographer. He has traveled the world on assignments for companies including Maersk, DHL, Kalmar, Konecranes, Sperry Marine, and many others. A specialist in maritime transportation, his photographs have been exhibited at The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. With Souza we discuss the practical tools needed to stay safe and capture compelling imagery for clients. Souza is a Nikon shooter who will not apologize for his love of zoom lenses, including the 24-70mm and 200-500mm NIKKORS. Todd Vorenkamp is a photographer, writer, and adjunct instructor of photography at Dakota College at Bottineau. He is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, a former merchant ship deck officer, and a former US Navy and Coast Guard helicopter aviator. His photo work has been published in The Maritime Executive, Rotor & Wing, and Vertical Magazine, among others. With Vorenkamp, we talk specifically about working on huge aircraft carriers and merchant ships and we learn how to maintain creativity on long ocean journeys. Join us for this fascinating and very practical conversation, sponsored by Pelican. Guests: Nick Souza and Todd Vorenkamp Photograph © Todd Vorenkamp Photograph © Todd Vorenkamp Photograph © Todd Vorenkamp Photograph © Todd Vorenkamp Photograph © Todd Vorenkamp Photograph © Todd Vorenkamp Photograph © Todd Vorenkamp Photograph © Todd Vorenkamp Photograph © Nick Souza Photograph © Nick Souza Photograph © Nick Souza Photograph © Nick Souza Photograph © Nick Souza Photograph © Nick Souza 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 12/02/2021
The title for this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is taken from a comment made by guest Tonika Johnson, describing the moment she recognized the effect her work could have on citizens of her hometown of Chicago. I’m certain that our other guests have had a similar moment when they see that their artistic work has gone beyond just the oohs and ahhs of aesthetes and afficionados and truly helps to educate and change the world for the better. On today’s program, we speak about photo projects that are used to address social problems and to bridge gaps between diverse people. In addition to Johnson, we welcome photographer John Noltner, the founder of A Peace of My Mind, and Michael Skoler, Communications Director at Weave: The Social Fabric Project. From Skoler we learn of the founding of Weave by the Aspen Institute and its mission to enable “weavers” to create connections between varied people, to act as good neighbors, and to “heal” communities. A Peace of My Mind, which has collaborated with Weave, uses photography and portraiture to foster discussions on peace and its many interpretations. Through exhibitions, workshops, and even his new book, Noltner’s visual storytelling sparks conversation and, hopefully, brings new understandings on diversity and tolerance. In the second half of the program, we focus on the work of Tonika Johnson and her Folded Map Project, which provides a unique method to compare historically segregated neighborhoods in Chicago and, ultimately, to bring the residents of these neighborhoods together. We speak with Johnson of her work as a photo teacher and activist and learn how this project had been gestating since her high school days. Join us for this inspirational conversation. Guests: Michael Skoler, John Noltner, Tonika Johnson Photograph © John Noltner From “Folded Map Project” © Tonika L. Johnson From “Folded Map Project” © Tonika L. Johnson Southside, Englewood resident Nanette sitting with her “map twin” Wade, on his porch in Chicago’s northside neighborhood of Edgewater, from “Folded Map Project” © Tonika L. Johnson “A Peace of My Mind” exhibit in Memphis, Tennessee, 2018 © John Noltner Dan Gallagher, Veterans advocate, Missoula, MT. From “A Peace of My Mind,” 2015 © John Noltner Hashim Garrett, activist, Orange, New Jersey. From “A Peace of My Mind,” 2016 © John Noltner Tyrone Werts, Inside-Out Project, Philadephia, PA. From “A Peace of My Mind,” 2016 © John Noltner Bud Welch, Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum, Oklahoma City, OK. From “A Peace of My Mind,” 2013 © John Noltner Joanne Bland, Civil Rights Activist, Selma, Alabama. From “A Peace of My Mind,” 2014 © John Noltner 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 11/17/2021
Our guest on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is physician and astrophotographer  Robert Gendler. The distinguished assignments, numerous international accolades, and his five published books are an indication of the significance of the work of this self-described amateur. His mosaic of the Andromeda Galaxy has been used to create 3D IMAX films and is considered the largest image of a spiral galaxy ever taken. With Gendler, we discuss his craft and career. We talk of his early days creating deep-sky images from a suburban driveway and how his process and gear have evolved over the years. We talk a bit about telescopes and binoculars and clarify some of the terminology used in astrophotography. We learn of important figures in the field and just how difficult space photography was in the pre-digital days. Our conversation in the second half of the show focuses on Gendler’s recent work creating large mosaics of galaxies and nebulae, often from hundreds, if not thousands, of unique exposures. We get a sense of how the colors are determined and how he mines data from the Hubble Heritage Team and other amateur and professional archives to create these beautiful images. This episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is sponsored by Pelican. Guest: Dr. Robert Gendler Photograph © Robert Gendler The Horsehead Nebula Region © Robert Gendler The Great Nebula in Orion © Robert Gendler M57,The Ring Nebula © Robert Gendler NGC 6888, The Crescent Nebula in Cygnus © Robert Gendler Omega Centauri Globular Cluster in Centaurus © Robert Gendler Sun © Robert Gendler M31, The Andromeda Galaxy Mosaic © Robert Gendler 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 11/10/2021
On this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome Craig Strong, the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Lensbaby, the special-effects lens manufacturer. Lensbaby was started by Strong, in 2004, and quickly established a name for itself. Over the years, the company has added lenses, optics systems, and accessories to grow its brand while maintaining an emphasis on creative expression—and embracing imperfection. With Strong, who worked as a staff and freelance photographer before co-founding Lensbaby, we discuss tinkering to create a prototype, founding the company, growth decisions, and motivation. We also talk about dealing with successes and failures in the very competitive camera and lens business. On the gear side, we ask questions about the research and development of lenses, the various mounts available with Lensbaby lenses, and we get a sense of what is on the horizon for the company in 2022. Guest: Craig Strong Photograph © Allan Weitz Photograph © Allan Weitz Photograph © Allan Weitz Allan Weitz Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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Posted 11/09/2021
On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we are pleased to welcome Peter Cohen and Bill Shapiro to discuss “vernacular” photography and the historical and cultural significance of snapshots and other images that fall outside the realms of fine-art and commercial photography. Peter J. Cohen is recognized as one of the country’s foremost collectors of vernacular photography and portions of his collections are now included in institutions such as Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, MFA Boston, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Morgan Library, and SFMoMA. Bill Shapiro is the former Editor-in-Chief of LIFE Magazine and the founding Editor-in-Chief of LIFE.com. He is the author of several books, including Gus & Me, a children’s book he co-wrote with Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, and What We Keep, from 2018. Shapiro is also a curator and has written about photography for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Esquire, and others, including an article for Texas Monthly, which contains images referred to in this episode. With our guests we discuss the joy of collecting old photos, of discovering themes, creating romantic stories, and of the beauty of the photograph as object. We also consider the surge of interest in vernacular photography from museums and other institutions, the marketplace distinctions among these and fine-art photos, and most important, what these images can tell us about our country and cultures. Join us for this enjoyable and insightful conversation. Guests: Peter Cohen and Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro Photograph Courtesy of the Collection of Bill Shapiro “A Trip to the Moon,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Bottoms Up,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Girls at the Farm,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Me at the Beach,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Roof Couple,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “Sheep from the Car,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection “A Dangerous Woman Amongst Men,” Photograph Courtesy of the Peter J. Cohen Collection Previous Pause Next Host: Allan Weitz Senior Creative Producer: John Harris Senior Producer: Jason Tables Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner
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