Join us each week for a conversation with insightful and entertaining guests. From gear and technique to history, science and art, we discuss the topics most important to the contemporary photographer.
Photographing the 2020 Presidential Campaign, with Salwan Georges
Today we welcome back to the B&H Photography Podcast, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and friend to the show, Salwan Georges. Georges joined us four years ago to talk about his documentary project centered around the Arabic communities in Michigan, but a lot has changed since then, and today he joins us to discuss his work covering the 2020 presidential campaigns for the Washington Post.
With Georges, we dig into the nuts and bolts of navigating a presidential election in the middle of a pandemic. We talk about press pools, political rallies, booking your own airfare, and making sure your hotel room is disinfected. We also discuss getting new angles to tell stories, prime versus zoom, switching to the Sony a9 II, and using an iPhone when that’s the only option. Georges also relates his experiences working with editors, having the back of other photographers, and his additional work covering the opioid crisis and other painful stories of our time.
Join us for this insightful conversation that we recorded in the days immediately following the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Guest: Salwan Georges
Photograph © Salwan Georges
Ami Vitale and the Prints for Nature Sale
What a treat to welcome photographer Ami Vitale to the B&H Photography Podcast. Vitale is mustering her high profile as a National Geographic photographer, as well as the talents of eighty-nine other incredible photographers, to raise funds for Conservation International. The Prints for Nature Sale runs until December 10, 2020 and offers gorgeous gallery-quality prints at a very affordable price. Please check this link for more information and to support this worthy initiative.
We also speak with Vitale about her career trajectory and commitment to telling the stories of endangered species and the humans around them. We discuss her work photographing Sudan, the last male white rhinoceros in existence, and her incredible series about pandas in China. We also ask Vitale how she bridges the gap (or perceived gap) between journalism and advocacy photography and about her commitment to long-term engagement with the stories she covers. Vitale also addresses the changing dynamics of print journalism and the need to find funding for her projects, and we briefly mention her work as a Nikon ambassador.
The dearth of tourism to many protected wildlife parks around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic has brought conservation efforts to a crisis point and the Prints for Nature Sale, with images by Art Wolfe, Steve Winter, Pete McBride, Alison Wright (all past guests of the podcast) and many other great photographers, is a way that lovers of wildlife and of photography can help.
Guest: Ami Vitale
Photograph © Ami Vitale
Night Photography in the Rockies, with Rachel Jones Ross; OPTIC All-Stars Preview
On November 22 and 23, B&H will host the 2020 OPTIC All-Stars Conference, with a stellar list of outdoor, travel, and adventure photographers giving online presentations and, on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we are pleased to welcome one of those photographers: Rachel Jones Ross. Ross is landscape and night sky photographer based near Banff, in the Canadian Rockies, and our conversation with her is rife with practical tips for shooting in the mountains and with suggestions to improve your night photography.
For starters, we speak with Ross about her workflow as it pertains to planning her shoots, which often require long hikes into the mountains. We discuss the apps she uses to gather information on weather, trails, and the night sky. We also ask about staying warm in sub-zero temperatures and find out that her most important piece of gear are her Heat Company gloves. From there we discuss basic (and not so basic) techniques for star and night sky photography, including tips on composition, focus, and focus stacking, including a handy “sharp star” filter for accurate focus.
Because Ross is also a well-respected educator, we discuss transitioning to online workshops during the COVID pandemic, her “Night Photography in your Pyjamas” course, and she offers a preview of her OPTIC All-Stars presentation. We also discuss her go-to gear and how she decides which cameras and lenses to use for particular locations. Ross is a member of the Sony Alpha Imaging Collective and she relates her preferences for the various Alpha series cameras and when and why she’ll decide to use a Sony 16-35mm zoom lens or a Zeiss Batis 18mm or Zeiss Loxia 21mm lens.
There is a lot of solid information as well as practical tips enmeshed in a very pleasant conversation with the wonderful Rachel Jones Ross. Join us for the episode and register for the free 2020 OPTIC All-Stars.
Guest: Rachel Jones Ross
Photograph © Rachel Jones Ross
Covering COVID-19: A Follow-up Conversation with Desiree Rios and Sarah Blesener
Eight months ago, on the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcomed four photojournalists who were covering the beginning stages of the COVID-19 crisis in New York. We discussed their fears and the stories they hoped to cover; we also discussed safety precautions, limited access to subjects, and altered workflows. It was the beginning of a new reality. On today’s episode, we welcome back two of those photographers—Desiree Rios and Sarah Blesener—for a follow-up conversation on how their work has evolved since March.
We first welcome Desiree Rios, who photographs for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. We speak with Rios about her daily assignments covering the effects of the pandemic in New York, primarily in the Bronx. We talk about using her work as a support for the community, about building solidarity with the people she photographs, and about trying to tell deeper aspects of a story with daily news images. We also marvel over how attitudes about masks and PPE were so different in March.
After a break, we speak with Sarah Blesener. She also works for the Times and WSJ, but thanks to a commission from the International Center for Photography and a grant from National Geographic, she was able to focus on a long-term project over these months. Specifically, she photographed her eighty-year-old landlady and how she, along with the neighborhood community she is a part of, came together to withstand the effects of the pandemic and shutdown. Blesener relates how she came to appreciate working in a less intimate and less spontaneous manner than normal, how she avoided risky assignments to not risk infecting her landlady, and how the project grew to involve the neighborhood and became a very optimistic story, despite the situation. This series is currently on exhibition at ICP.
Join us for this topical and interesting conversation on the evolving role of photojournalism during 2020.
Guests: Desiree Rios and Sarah Blesener
Photo: Desiree Rios
Podcast: Side Hustle - Additional Revenue from Your Photography, with Sam Hurd
Our guest on this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast is Sam Hurd. While he is primarily a wedding photographer, I have no doubt that he could photograph anything and make it look interesting. Hurd is also a portrait photographer; he dabbles in landscape work; and is a passionate photo educator. A few minutes listening to this episode and it becomes clear that he can articulate his process as well as he can execute it. He offers “deconstructions” of his images for his Patreon followers and teaches his style, technique, and gear, but today we focus on his “side hustles,” on the methods and platforms he uses to engage with clients and make extra money from the wedding photography he is already doing.
We start by discussing his Patreon platform and how he uses his wedding-photography images and insights to build a following of “patrons,” who pay monthly subscriptions to follow his tutorials. We then jump to Stocksy, and how his well-curated set of stock images, mostly taken at weddings, creates an additional revenue flow. He also speaks of DVLOP, which is a site that markets presets that he has created while processing his wedding work. Of course, each of these ancillary platforms flows into and out of each other not only to gain him clients but to improve his photography. He mentions several times how the challenge of producing interesting tutorials has forced him to be more inventive.
Despite a very simple kit when shooting weddings, Hurd is also a self-described gearhead and he and Allan bond over their love for vintage glass and discuss recent purchases, including the Hasselblad 907X 50c and the Canon R6. Finally, we touch on Hurd’s first professional gig, as the staff photographer for the National Press Club, some of the famous faces he photographed, and the odd but practical practice techniques he developed to practice his portraiture. Join us for this very informative episode.
Guest: Sam Hurd
Photograph © Sam Hurd
Earlie Hudnall, Jr. -- Life as I See It
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 which 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 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 relates 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.