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The Documentary Photographer Podcast
71 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 31: Gabrielle Motola—Recovery through Discovery
Have you ever been lost as a photographer or cast adrift as a human being? This episode is for you. Gabrielle Motola talks frankly and openly about dealing with a range of professional and personal setbacks. This is an episode about life, joy and struggle. It's about staying connected to your soul as a photographer, as an artist, as a creative, as a human being. It's also about facing down upsets by taking action. Massive action (ride to Iceland on a 250cc motorbike) and small action (take just one photograph, connect with one person, however fleetingly). Above all, this episode is about staying true to yourself and finding beauty and purpose in a turbulent, messy and sometimes frightening world.
49 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode 30: Jonathan Desmond—Lured into a Tea Shop
A one-off episode to catch up with previous guest Jonathan Desmond about his recent book of photographs of Vancouver's Chinatown: I Was Lured Into A Tea Shop—Vancouver’s Chinatown from 2013-2015 The book is available on Jonathan's website: www.jonathandesmond.com
51 minutes | 4 years ago
Episode 29: Finale—Lessons Learned and How to Get the Most from this Podcast
This is the final episode of the Documentary Photographer Podcast. It may return for a second season, but for now it is the last one. You'll hear me explain why I've called a halt and find out the top 10 wondrous things the podcast gave me. Here's the list (in no particular order of importance): 1. Spoke to my hero: Doug Menuez 2. Spoke to great photographers 3. Taught me about photography: how to take pictures 4. Taught me about business 5. Inspired me/showed me what’s possible: pursuing dreams 6. Broadened my horizons/understanding of humanity/culture 7. Marketing of my brand 8. Taught me a new product/business 9. Taught me a new skill (speaking/interviewing) 10. Broadened my network: interviewees & listeners Thank you for your company along the way. It's been a privilege. Links: Show & Tell Communications (www.showandtellcommunications.net) Spierkater (www.spierkater.com) Roger Overall Photography (www.rogeroverall.net) Peter Cox Photography (www.petercox.ie) Doug Menuez (www.menuez.com) Doug Menuez: On Chaos, Fear, Survival and Luck This link takes you to an archived version of Doug's previous blog/website via Archive.org. I'm doing so because I'm getting a malware notice from my Norton security software at the moment regards Doug's actual old site. I've emailed Doug to let him know. But in the meantime, you can read the article safely here: https://web.archive.org/web/20160317092335/http://dougmenuez.com/on-chaos-fear-survival-luck/
89 minutes | 4 years ago
Episode 28: Anna Gunn—How to Create Your Own Photo Fest
Anna Gunn joins us from Portugal to talk about her career in photography and how she created Porto Photo Fest from scratch. Follow her journey from aerospace engineering via theatre lighting to photography. You'll not only hear lots to inspire you on your own creative journey, but also learn how Anna convinced some of her photography heroines and heroes run workshops at the inaugural Porto Photo Fest.
29 minutes | 4 years ago
Episode 27: Mandy Barker—Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals
In this episode, you’ll hear Mandy Baker talk about her project Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals, which draws attention to plastic pollution in the environment—seas and oceans in particular. From the project exhibition press release: Plankton form a diverse group of microscopic marine organisms living in the water column, not able to swim against the current; they exist in a drifting, floating, state. In this series by Mandy Barker, unique ‘specimens’ of this animal species relate to the pioneering discoveries made by marine biologist John Vaughn Thompson in Cobh and Cork Harbour during the 1800’s. Mandy Barker with of her photographs on display at the Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Ireland, 27th May, 2017 Presented as microscopic samples, objects of marine plastic debris, recovered from the same location, mimic Thompson’s early scientific discoveries of plankton. The work represents the degradation and contamination of plastic particles in the natural environment, by creating the perception of past scientific discoveries, when organisms were free from plastic. The enveloping black space evokes the deep oceans beneath. Presenting new ‘specimens’, created from recovered debris, serves as a metaphor to the ubiquity of plastic and the anthropocene, encapsulating in miniature the much larger problem of an imperfect world. "Current scientific research has found that plankton ingest micro plastic particles, mistaking them for food, and at the base of the food chain they are themselves a crucial source of food for many larger creatures. The potential impact on marine life and ultimately humankind itself is currently of vital concern. In terms of plankton, and of action, we are ‘Beyond Drifting’, and must bring into focus these ‘Imperfectly Known Animals’. Mandy's website: www.mandy-baker.com Twitter: @plasticpieces Instagram: mandybarkerphotography
56 minutes | 4 years ago
Episode 26: Gabrielle Motola—An Equal Difference
Welcome to the Documentary Photographer podcast. In this episode, you’ll hear Gabrielle Motola talk about her career path and her work, especially her book ‘An Equal Difference’. The book looks at Iceland’s response to the 2008 financial crisis and focuses on the country’s thinking around gender equality and gender identity. Central questions in the book are “Why did Iceland react the way to its financial crisis by calling for the feminisation of the banking culture? Why did it prosecute those who did not live up to their social responsibilities and acted in self-serving ways to the detriment of society? Why did no other country react in this way?” For me personally, 2016 was a year that underlined starkly how women aren’t seen and treated as equals in many societies, actually probably most societies. I think a good example is that of the USA, which will soon have a president who has admitted to treating women outrageously, but that’s OK by a large share of the electorate—large enough to have him elected, without him expressing remorse or regret at his behaviour. Such an attitude towards women simply isn’t a problem for many people. I have a daughter and to me, right now, it feels as if she is growing up in a world that is taking a lot of steps backwards—including in terms of gender equality. The world has some big problems to solve. It doesn’t strike me as a good idea to marginalise half of our creative and intellectual capacity at a time when our problems are huge and growing. And like many of you, I live in a country in which the average citizens had to bear the brunt of the financial collapse, while most of those responsible (politicians and bankers) were never called to account. That’s how it feels anyway. The same politicians are in power and they still speak with stomach-churning self-importance about their great deeds and accomplishments, ignoring the hurt, stress and despair they caused. So Gabrielle’s book and the story behind it stirred my interest. I hope it will yours too. A thank you to Thomas Paris, who suggested that Gabrielle would be a good person to speak with. Thomas, if you have any other suggestions, don’t hold back. That goes for anyone listening to this now. Maybe you know someone who deserves a wider audience? And now a little confession. For some reason, my audio track stopped recording during the Skype call with Gabrielle. So, in the interests of transparency, I should tell you that I had to re-record 95% of my share of the conversation. So what you hear is I suppose me in conversation with a recording of Gabrielle’s side of the original conversation. I hope that doesn’t spoil the episode for you. Thank you for listening.
65 minutes | 4 years ago
Episode 25: Damian Drohan—Relentlessness
Damian Drohan talks about how to generate paying documentary commissions and explains how he has received commissions from public bodies. He also talks about keeping yourself going during lean times and during dark times.
61 minutes | 6 years ago
Episode 24: Jon Wilkening—The Courage to Follow Your Heart to Fulfilment as a Photographer
Jon Wilkening left a successful career in finance to become a fine art photographer. His whole life, he felt like he was different and couldn't shake a sense of not quite belonging. It's hardly surprising when you think he's an American whose childhood was spent in the Netherlands and India. He was 12 by the time he settled permanently in the US. Jon speaks about his fascinating upbringing and about how he came to make a risky, yet fulfilling leap from finance to photography. You'll also hear about the influence AJ Leon and the force of nature that is Misfit Inc had on his life. A special mention goes to Jane Boyd, a mutual friend who brought Jon and I together for the show.
50 minutes | 6 years ago
Episode 23: Peter Cox—Self-publishing Using Kickstarter
Peter Cox is a successful professional landscape photographer based in Co. Cork in Ireland. He is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help publish his second book—"Atlantic Light". To say it has been a huge success so far would be an understatement—like saying the summit of K2 is a bit of a walk. Peter is no stranger to Kickstarter success. His previous book campaign was almost 400% funded and he is on track to repeat that this time round. In this episode of The Documentary Photographer Podcast, Peter talks about what you need to run a successful Kickstarter campaign and explains what went into his latest book project. Peter is also an early adopter of drone technology for his photography and his latest book will feature photographs taken exclusively from the air. He explains what drew him to drone photography and tells of some of the mishaps along the way. If you have plans to run a Kickstarter campaign to publish a book of your photographs, Peter has some wonderful and useful insights for you. You can see Peter's Kickstarter campaign here: Peter Cox Kickstarter for Atlantic Light. His website is here: Peter's website.
38 minutes | 6 years ago
Episode 22: Stephen Serio—Smartphone Photography & Changing Lanes
Can you make money from smartphone photography? Yes, you can. In this episode of The Documentary Photographer podcast, American photographer Stephen Serio talks about his Instagram photography and how it fits in with his career as a professional photographer. He also talks about his recent switch from being a staff magazine photographer to a freelancer, along with the reasons behind the move. He also explains how he is using the contacts he built up as a magazine photographer to build his freelance client base in and around Chicago. Stephen also explains the "architecture of light", a principle he learned from one of his mentors, documentary photographer David Plowden. You can see Stephen's work on his website (www.stephenserio.com) and follow his smartphone photography on Instagram, where he is @phoned_it_in.
46 minutes | 6 years ago
Episode 19: Jonathan Desmond & Roger Overall – Pre-qualifying Your Clients for Documentary Work
In a change from the norm, Canadian photographer Jonathan Desmond takes the reins of the podcast and asks regular host Roger Overall questions about how he approaches documentary photography. In particular, they talk about how to explain to both wedding and corporate clients what documentary photography is. Roger talks about the importance of letting your passion for the authentic moment shine through.
34 minutes | 6 years ago
Episode 18: Iesha Small – Documenting Depression
In this episode documentary photographer and teacher Iesha Small talks about her project documenting depression. Iesha explains how her own spell of depression resulted in her taking up photography. She also talks about using text and audio in her work, and about how she approaches such a sensitive topic. You can see Iesha's photography and stories at http://www.mindshackles.co.uk/
61 minutes | 6 years ago
Episode 21: Carl Weese and the Case of the Platinum/Palladium Prints
Carl Weese, who joined us in episode 3, is back to bring us up to date on his epic 18,000-mile trip around the USA to photograph drive-in movie theatres. He also talks about the platinum/palladium print process. He is a master of this contact printing technique, which produces prints with a remarkable tonal range. Carl reveals how he has combined this alternative printing method with thoroughly contemporary technology. He is currently offering two of his photographs for sale as platinum/palladium prints through the latest print sale on The Online Photographer - Carl Weese Print Sale
36 minutes | 7 years ago
Episode 17: Denis Balibouse and the Gruyere Cheese Makers
Speaking purely from a selfish point of view: I could happily live out the rest of my days producing documentary photographs and films about artisan food producers. Being around them is inspirational. Their knowledge, skill and passion is infectious. Moreover, I like my food. You can imagine, then, how excited I was when I came across the photographs and video that Reuters photographer Denis Balibouse produced of Gruyere cheese makers. He spent time with the Murith family between May and October last year documenting the making of Gruyere cheese on the mountainside. The experience challenged his assumptions about cheese making and traditional aspects of Swiss life, which is thought were under threat. In our conversation, we talk about some of the fundamentals of documentary photography such as access and respecting your subject's integrity and rights. We also look at the rise of video and its importance for us as documentary photographers.
46 minutes | 7 years ago
Episode 16: Brian David Stevens – The Meaningful Landscape
This episode features a conversation with Brian David Stevens. He speaks eloquently and thoughtfully about his work and approach to photography and his subjects. We meander through landscape photography, street photography and documentary photography as sub-genres of photography. We talk realism, truth and meaning, as well as building meaningful relationships with your human subjects when they are very different from you. Brian's interests are varied, covering seascapes to graffiti artists, yet there is a coherence. Often Brian collaborates. Either with his subjects or by working with others on a project, a poet for instance. His work is about dialogue. Landscapes are revealed to have human meaning due to events that happened there – the interplay between image and words creates a deeper story.
12 minutes | 7 years ago
Episode 15: Bill Eppridge and the Beautiful Death
The recent passing of Bill Eppridge reminded me of the photograph that he took of a dying Robert Kennedy and of my reaction to it – it is a beautiful photograph. I wonder whether the beauty of the photograph detracts from the story. Is it above all a thing of aesthetic delight and a storytelling image a distant second? I don't intend any disrespect by saying this. It's just that I wonder at the relationship between beauty and storytelling. Does beauty detract or obscure the story the photographer intends to tell? Or perhaps it enhances it somehow? In this episode of The Documentary Photographer, we touch on the issue of beauty in documentary images. We also look forward to the upcoming print sale to raise funds for medical relief in Syria.
45 minutes | 8 years ago
Episode 14: Christian Payne – Photography with a Conscience
This is a special episode of the podcast. So special that it's being released ahead of the usual slot and before another interview that was already in the queue. The reason is twofold. First the photographer interviewed is a remarkable man who went out of his way (and possibly into harm's way) to tell a remarkable story: Christian Payne. Online, many know Christian as Documentally, a storyteller who uses multiple online platforms to tell his own story and that of his clients. He does exciting things for interesting clients. I first became aware of him when he travelled from Land's End to John o' Groats (the UK's famed tip to top journey) with nothing but online airtime to offer those who gave him rides, shelter and food. That alone should give you an idea of the person he is. He does things most of us wouldn't. One thing he did very recently was travel to Turkey and Syria. He wanted to find out first hand how the war was affecting regular Syrians – people like you and me. In this interview, recorded only a couple of days after he got back, you'll hear of his experiences – some of which were disturbing and harrowing. Christian isn't a hardened news or war photographer who spends lots of time on the ground in conflict zones. That's what makes his story even more powerful. He is a regular guy whose conscience made him team up with a journalist friend (Phil Sands) to see for himself what is going on away from the news agenda of the big media outlets. The second reason why this interview is special is that it will have a follow on. Something good will happen because of the work Christian has done. You'll hear reference to that at the end of the episode. I'm hoping you and I can help raise money for the refugees in Syria. It's early stages yet, but watch this space.
35 minutes | 8 years ago
Episode 13: Gina Glover – Bringing the Personal into Your Work
How do you choose the things that you want to photograph? Our personal circumstances and interests play a big part in our choices, of course. But so does serendipity. Gina Glover's story is a good example of this. She launched her career photographing something that was on her doorstep: a former nuclear missile launch site. Gina's career has spanned several decades and in that time she has explored the missile site in detail – digging in and exploring it from a number of angles. Over time, her technique, gear and approach changed, but the topic remained the same – gradually being revealed layer by layer, deeper and deeper. In this episode of of The Documentary Photographer podcast, we discuss her seminal Playgrounds of War, as well as practical issues such as gaining access to sensitive areas and her approach to colour. Special thank you: this episode of the podcast owes much to the help of Richard West at Source magazine. Want to know why? Listen in.
36 minutes | 8 years ago
Episode 12: Dana Popa - The Role of Gender in Photography
In this episode, I'm joined in conversation by Dana Popa, a Romanian photographer who is based in London. Dana has done work in very sensitive environments – among sex slaves, for instance. These environments made me wonder whether a man could have gained the access required to produce a visual story.
53 minutes | 8 years ago
Episode 11: Jonathon Keats – What Is A Documentary Photograph?
Just what is a documentary photograph? Like most of you listening to this podcast, I have my own definition of what it is, but I've never delved much deeper than my own ideas and preconceptions. I had a sense of what worked for me and that was enough. That's a dangerous road, don't you agree? It's dangerous because it brings with it the risk of having a blinkered vision. Blinkered vision is something we cannot afford as documentary photographers. In this episode of the podcast, I have the privilege of speaking with Jonathon Keats. Jonathon is a deep thinker, an artist and and philosopher, a photographer too. He writes for Forbes and reached out to me via email after episode 10 of the podcast aired. In his email, he highlighted a recent Forbes article in which he discusses the work of Bernice Abbott, in particular her photographs illustrating scientific concepts through photography, and wondered whether they were documentary. A simple question. But a complicated answer. Pondering Jonathon's question made me realize that while I have my own definition of documentary photography, it wasn't perhaps deep or nuanced enough. It was time to explore the concept in a conversation. And with whom better than Jonathon himself?
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