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.
Waltz with Fate—Photographer Misan Harriman
When you have had as momentous a year as our guest, photographer Misan Harriman, had in 2020, you should shout it from the rooftops. However, on this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, Harriman offers us nothing but humility and gratitude for the work he has done, including creating the September 2020 cover photographs for British Vogue and the powerful images he made at Black Lives Matter marches in London.
Harriman left us inspired, and we are happy to share this conversation, supported by Leica Camera. Sweet drops like, “Our ancestors are whispering to us every time we press the shutter” and “…there’s no small talk in black and white” are the icing on the cake of a wonderful conversation about his work and workflow. Harriman reflects on his love for image making but also speaks about coming to photography relatively late in life and maintaining confidence despite “imposter syndrome.” He advises photographing what you know and love before you dip your toe in deeper waters. We also talk about keeping your head above those deep waters when you are offered incredibly important assignments, such as the triple gatefold cover with twenty portraits for British Vogue, the first cover photograph by a black man in that magazine’s history.
With Harriman we also discuss portrait work and minimizing technical distractions to focus on the “exchange of humanity.” This concept serves for portraits taken remotely as well, as his noted portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex demonstrates. Remote photography apps are mentioned, as is his workflow during BLM protests, including a dogged devotion to black and white and using up to five cameras with longer prime lenses for intimacy and safety. Harriman provides us with much to consider, from thoughts on why we should photograph to how to economize using L-mount gear. Join us for this engaging episode and please leave us a comment below.
Guest: Misan Harriman
Photograph © Misan Harriman
New Gear Roundup, Spring 2021
On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome back to the program B&H Senior Sales Trainer Kevin Rickert to discuss the latest cameras and lenses released over the past few months. For today’s episode, we have the support of Audio-Technica and are using its BP40 Large Diaphragm Dynamic Broadcast Microphone.
We start with Sony’s new flagship camera, the Alpha A1 Mirrorless Digital Camera, and discuss its impressive features as well some of the new lenses Sony has introduced, including the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens. We also talk about the new FUJIFILM GFX 100S Medium Format Mirrorless Camera and the FUJIFILM X-E4 Mirrorless Camera.
The rest of the episode is dedicated to lenses and a quick look back at some camera releases from late 2020. We mention the incredible new Leica M-mount 35mm f/2 lens and the 28mm f/2 SL lens, a trio of limited edition lenses from Pentax, including the tiny 43mm f/1.9 lens, a 15mm Sunstar lens from NiSi, and several others. Cameras from late last year that get a mention are the Nikon Z6 II, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 III, and the Canon PowerShot ZOOM. Join us for this informative chat and start thinking about your spring and summer photography plans!
Guest: Kevin Rickert
Editor’s Note : Since this podcast was recorded, both Sigma and Pentax have announced new cameras. Both are substantial updates to existing models, Pentax announced the new APS-C flagship Pentax-K-3 Mark III DSLR and Sigma has introduced the modular fp L Mirrorless Digital Camera.
Norman Reedus—Art Is as Art Does (Encore Presentation)
This episode was first published in January 2018. The Canon sweepstakes mentioned in the episode has long since ended and is no longer valid.
For some photographers, the phrase “run and gun” has a negative connotation, but when you’re Norman Reedus, that description takes on a much cooler meaning, one that is accurate to his style and a compliment to his ability to “sense a moment.” Reedus, most recognized for his acting work on the television series, “The Walking Dead” and “Ride with Norman Reedus,” is first and always an artist: a sculptor, a director, and author of the photography books, “The Sun’s Coming Up… Like a Big Bald Head” and his latest, “Portraits from the Woods,” which is a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the making of “The Walking Dead.” Both books are available at Big Bald Gallery.
With the travel demands of working on films and television, Reedus’s photography becomes a way to engage with his locations and document his adventures but, through the eyes of an artist, his work is more than just famous locales and behind the scenes fun. He brings a personal vision, humorous and dark, to images he captures and does so with an experimenter’s touch, using a variety of cameras and styles. We talk with Reedus about his start in photography, his stylistic approaches, gear choices, and what he has learned from his time in front of a camera that helps with his work behind one. However, with a guest like Reedus—generous with his time and tales—you let the conversation flow, and we also discuss his series “Ride,” the influence of Laurie Anderson, fan selfies, his love of horror films, and a range of other topics.
While recording this episode, the Tom Waits line, “I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things,” kept popping into my head. I’m not sure this line best reflects Reedus’s work, but I am sure there is a Tom Waits line that does. This episode was a real treat for us at the B&H Photography Podcast, and we hope you feel the same in the listening.
Guest: Norman Reedus
Photograph © Norman Reedus
Silent Collaboration—Gulnara Samoilova and “Women Street Photographers”
What is street photography? Is it an urban exercise? Is it black-and-white or color? Is it collaborative or solitary? Can it be an intimate portrait or a long-term project? These are some of the questions we ask of our guest on today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast. And Gulnara Samoilova does not take the bait. Samoilova is interested in expanding street photography, not limiting it with a definition. To her, and as is represented beautifully by the new book she edited, street photography is all of the above, it can happen anywhere, and it is simply “unplanned photos taken in public places.”
In addition to be being an editor and curator and the founder of the @womenstreetphotographers Instagram feed, Samoilova is an accomplished photographer herself, and we spend the first half of the show talking street photo practices and how she uses verbal and nonverbal communication to interact with subjects, how she holds the camera, and how a location may affect the style of a photo. She also mentions that she has been a FUJIFILM X shooter for some time.
In the second half of the show, we focus on Women Street Photographers, the new book edited by Samoilova and which profiles one hundred street photographers from around the world, and we find out how this book was edited and produced and about some of the photographers included. Join us for this insightful discussion.
Guest: Gulnara Samoilova
Photograph © Gulnara Samoilova
Food Photography and Still Life, with Emma Ressel
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
What Life Is Like – Documentary Photography, with Stella Johnson
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 easy-going 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 non-verbal 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. She keeps her settings simple and concentrates on composition and the moment; she tends to find light and locations that she likes and wait 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
Best photography podcast
The B&H podcast really stands out compared to the other highly rated photography podcasts - no breathless excitement hyperbolic rhetoric fast talk like so many of the other podcasts- just smart deep and lengthy interviews of excellent working photographers (with the occasional gear head episode) by John and Allan the show hosts. If you know Sound Opinions this show is like Sound Opinions for photographers. If you want one photography podcast, look no further.
Every episode is a great listen. This is the podcast that I alway move to the top of my queue.
Topics are always insightful and generally entertaining. Whoever is in charge of finding topics kudos, I hope you get a raise soon.
Allan and crew do a great job keeping me entertained. Delightful!
What photographers need to hear
I am glad I found this podcast. Sometimes I don’t get to talk to other photographers and just hearing others thoughts outside of YouTube helps so much especially during this pandemic. I love the shows.