Thoughts on Photography
Thoughts on Photography is the podcast with the most timely stories in the photography industry. Each week, Brian McGuckin interviews the experts in the thick of the most interesting issues in photography, taking apart and understanding the issue from the experts.
Here is a list of my favorite photo or photo-related books of 2009 (in order by author):

War is Only Half the Story Volume II - Aftermath Project (Kathryn Cook, Natela Grigalashvili, Tinka Dietz, Pep Bonet and Christine Fenzl)

Photowisdom: Master Photographers on their Art - Lewis Blackwell

To Walk in Beauty - Stacia Spragg-Braude

The Spirit & the Flesh - Debbie Fleming Caffery

Firefly: Photographs of Children - Keith Carter

Summer Heart - Thekla Ehling

Kutuuka - Gloria Baker Feinstein

Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans (Expanded Edition) - Robert Frank and Sarah Greenough

Emmet Gowin: Photographs - Emmet Gowin

Three - Ed Kashi

Fun and Games - Lisa Kereszi

Memories of Myself - Danny Lyons

Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals - Christopher Payne

Surfland - Joni Sternbach

Violet Isle: A Duet of Photography from Cuba - Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb

Direct download: TOP-0089.mp3
Category:photography books -- posted at: 12:00am EST

In this podcast I talk about some of the ways in which we photographers can sometimes veer from the photographic life for one reason or another and I offer up some suggestions that have worked for me to get back on track with my photography.
Direct download: TOP-0088.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 4:16pm EST

Eliza Lamb's most recent photo series explores the neighborhood of
Astoria, Queens in New York City and how people use their yards as a public display of their religious beliefs. Lamb was fascinated by the
willingness or need to share these beliefs so openly while also hiding their personality and nature at the same time.

Direct download: TOP-0087.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Lauren Semivan creates imagined events through the use of staged photographs. This approach gives her both the control necessary to tell a story while incorporating autobiographical elements into the narrative such as dreams, preoccupations, desires, anxieties, and the collective unconscious.
Direct download: TOP-0086.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Lisa Kereszi's latest monograph "Fun and Games" explores places where some people might go to escape from the boredom and challenges of everyday life. Boardwalks, dance halls, the great outdoors, and even strip clubs are all places of interest for Kereszi but rather than give us a glamorized travelogue, Kereszi scratches below the surface, sometimes deeply, to show us what these places of interest are really like and, in a way, that makes them even more interesting (and maybe even fun).
Direct download: TOP-0085.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Currently in the photographic art world, style and process seem to be the means by which we measure photography worthy of the title "art." This is why I found Lori Vrba's photography to be so exciting. Her total devotion to the subject matter to her photographs, rather than to "how" the photographs were made, set Lori apart and provides a welcome and refreshing journey.
Direct download: TOP-0084.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 4:12pm EST

Elizabeth Fleming's photography captures the small moments of everyday life. Children at play, objects in our everyday world, and the non-events that surround us provide opportunities to slow us down so that we can appreciate the wonderful subtleties that life offers us every day, that is if we will only take a moment to be stopped by it.
Direct download: TOP-0083.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Ralf Bruck's photographs focus on architecture, landscapes, and people. Educated at the Duesseldorf School of Photography, Bruck's street photography, we might call it the social landscape in the United States, rarely show a complete situation but rather, he focuses on the small details that are typically overlooked through casual observation thus creating a new dialog between the images themselves and their relationship to the viewer.
Direct download: TOP-0082.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Tootie Nienow enjoys exploring photography through experimentation both in terms of tools, technique, and subject matter. Her photography is both conceptual and sublime and at the same time her work is also intriguing and engaging, and yes, even beautiful too.

Direct download: TOP-0081.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 4:06am EST

Beth Kientzle's photographs, which focus mostly on urban and natural landscapes, are made using alternative tools and techniques. This allows her to play with abstract shapes, light, and motion in her photographs. Although Kientzle's approach introduces an element of chance into her photography, it is chance tempered with a distinct and unique vision.
Direct download: TOP-0080.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 6:08pm EST

This is the third podcast in a three part series where I explore in greater depth the idea of using projects to guide your photography. Today I'm talking about projects without end.
Direct download: TOP-0079.mp3
Category:photographic projects -- posted at: 9:03pm EST

This is the second podcast in a three part series dealing with the issue of projects. Today I talk about working on multiple projects. Below are some links to various resources mentioned in the podcast.

Direct download: TOP-0078.mp3
Category:photographic projects -- posted at: 8:55pm EST

I'm continuing with my exploration and discussion of photographic projects with a 3-part podcast series. In this first podcast, I want to explore the concept of ideas and how they may or may not lead to projects.
Direct download: TOP-0077.mp3
Category:photographic projects -- posted at: 8:53pm EST

Liz Kuball is based in Southern California. She began photographing in 2006 and since then has been exhibited in Los Angeles, New York, and Detroit. Her work has appeared online in the Humble Arts Foundation group show, FILE Magazine, and Flak Photo. In 2009, Liz was selected by the Humble Arts Foundation for inclusion in the Collector's Guide to Emerging Art Photography. Liz"s most recent and on-going body of work called "California Vernacular” is a perfect example of the social landscape. Whether the photos are taken in the city, the suburb, or a rural place, Liz manages to capture the essence of our human existence in the natural environment. The result is sometimes poignant, sometimes whimsical but always engaging.
Direct download: TOP-0076.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Alan George is a San Francisco-based photographer who came to photography not through the halls of higher learning or by becoming enamored with photography as a child or as an artist in another medium who discovers photography as their "true” medium but rather, as someone who used a camera in much the same way as most people do, to record life's events . . . in other words, he was a snap-shooter.

In 2003 photography became a more central part of Alan"s life, a way of exploring the social landscape.   The process of searching, selecting and examining something that would otherwise go unnoticed helped him to feel more conscious, more aware, more engaged, more alive.

Direct download: TOP-0074.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

I'm frequently asked by listeners if I can give them a comprehensive critique/review of their photography. Although very brief comments regarding one's work is fine and I do this regularly when asked, a comprehensive review can be time-consuming for me to do. A solution, and a way to support the podcast at the same time, is for me to offer a critique/review service to listeners. A one-hour session is available via phone for $100. All proceeds go towards supporting this podcast. Listen to this podcast episode for more details about what is included.
Direct download: TOP-0073.mp3
Category:annoucement -- posted at: 2:48pm EST

Puerto Rican-born Manuel Rivera-Ortiz uses his camera to explore the world and tell the stories of people who have no voice and must struggle for their existence. His photographic projects in Bolivia, India, Turkey, Cuba, and Kenya highlight the toll extreme poverty can take on the human condition and at the same time, he captures the triumph of the human spirit as people struggle to overcome the extreme conditions that they must deal with daily.

This is to date the longest interview I have conducted for Thoughts on Photography and is probably one of the most poignant and thought-provoking both from a photographic and humanitarian viewpoint. It shows how truly powerful the camera that you hold in your hands can be when used to bring attention to the human condition.

Direct download: TOP-0072.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 8:33pm EST

Christy Karpinski’s undergraduate degree in Women's Studies gave her the chance to focus on issues of identity and of how we make sense of ourselves and others in the world. She later went on to earn an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago and this provided her with the opportunity to engage with the issues self and identity in her photographic work where she now explores the realms of childhood and childhood spaces.
Direct download: TOP-0071.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 9:01pm EST

What is a photographic education and do you need one in order to be a photographer? Is school the way to go to get an education or are there other options? The pros and cons of studying photography at the academy are discussed as well as the role of a photographic education as a part of the photographic life.
Direct download: TOP-0070.mp3
Category:education -- posted at: 8:48pm EST

Julio De Matos is based in Portugal and I first got to know of Julio's work through his book "Fading Hutongs" which are photos of hutongs taken in China and through that work, I came to discover other significant bodies of work. Incidentally, "Fading Hutongs" was one of my favorite books of 2008.

Part of Julio’s initial work deals with and explores interconnections using alternative photographic processes. His later work, while on the surface, could be labeled travel photography, goes deeper into social commentary in the documentarian tradition by raising awareness of the survival and extinction of ancestral cultures.

Julio’s most recent work is closer to home and explores the influence of Brazilian architecture on the architecture of Portugal as well as the confluence of digital interventions in the landscape and subsequent print. Julio’s photography has been widely exhibited and he has had several books of his work published. I find exploring Julio’s work like peeling an onion with many layers, each one more revealing.

Direct download: TOP-0069.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Shane Lavalette is a recent graduate with a BFA from Tufts University in partnership with The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Shane writes extensively about photography through his photo-related blog where he focuses primarily on fine art photography and issues concerning contemporary photographic practice. He features individual photographers, books, exhibitions and interviews. Shane is also the founder and editor of Lay Flat, a new print publication of contemporary photography and writing that uses an innovative magazine format for the articles and actual prints of the featured photographs.

Shane, who's personal photographic work has been well received through various exhibitions and awards, represents a new breed of young photographers who are putting as much an emphasis on the contributions they can make to the field of photography as on their own personal work.
Direct download: TOP-0068.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 8:55pm EST

In this podcast, I discuss what to do when you have already achieved a certain level of success with your photography (particularly through juried exhibitions) and are wondering what do to and where to go next with the marketing of your work.
Direct download: TOP-0067.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 2:47pm EST

Like many photographers, Natalie Young didn't start out with the intention of becoming a photographer but rather, photography found her. She left a career in finance, married a musician and began living the photographic life. After photographing on her husband's family farm, Young eventually realized that she had not only a body of work but had work that could feed her artistically. As with the farm series, Young's approach to photography is usually a reflection of personal life and it is this approach that has given her the success she now enjoys with her photography.
Direct download: TOP-0066.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Whether it is her lush photographs of botanticals, images of New Orleans, or her southern landscapes, Victoria Ryan brings a certain atmosphere to her photographs that is so strong, one can almost feel the textures of the plants, smell the decay of the swamp, or feel the thrill of Mardi Gras from the viewpoint of an insider.
Direct download: TOP-0065.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 7:06pm EST

Photo contests can be great ways to get your work on there and in front of other people. Photo contests can also help you develop and refine the skills of editing your work for submission. Recently though, more and more contests are developing rules whereby you lose ownership of your photography upon submission. Although the price of entering most contests is free, the ultimate price (the loss of ownership of your photographs) is too high a price to pay.
Direct download: TOP-0064.mp3
Category:legal issues -- posted at: 8:20pm EST

Ken Rosenthal's images make use of diffusion, blur, and high contrast as a way of exploring his personal experiences through common memories and archetypes that we all share. His images evoke moods that run the gamut from a veiled happiness to a discordant nostalgia with some anxiety thrown in. It is Rosenthal's deep connection to his own psychological thoughts though which is on display and through his lens, we begin to see a bit of ourselves in his images.
Direct download: TOP-0063.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Suzanne Revy's commercial portraiture (mostly of children) is truly excellent. Revy has that gift of being able to bring out a child's personality and then capture it on film. The result is something that families cherish for ages. It's no surprise then that Revy's personal fine art work (again mostly of children) captures the essence and personality of her subjects. The different in her fine art work though is that Revy also infuses a sense of place and time that evokes a shared sense of history, nostalgia and time. Also mentioned in this podcast is the Griffin Museum.
Direct download: TOP-0062.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 7:42pm EST

There has never been a better time to enjoy fine art photography than now, particularly with all of the new on-line web-based photography magazines that are being published. Cheaper to produce but no less excellent than print-based photography magazines with regards to content, on-line magazines provide a larger, wider venue for photographers to publish their work and get it to a wider audience. Below is a list (by no means comprehensive though) of several on-line photography magazines that you might want to check out:

Ahorn Magazine

Blueeyes Magazine

Burn Magazine

Deep Sleep

F-Stop Magazine

File Magazine

Fraction Magazine

Lens Culture

Seesaw Magazine


Visura Magazine

Direct download: TOP-0061.mp3
Category:magazines -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Stella Johnson is a documentary photographer who brings an engaging and captivating approach to her subjects. Her latest book, Al Sol: Photographs of Mexico, Cameroon, and Nicaragua is a great example of documentary photography that also works as fine art photography.
Direct download: TOP-0060.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Which is better, black and white or color photography? I've gotten asked this question many times by listeners and I find the question to be kind of strange because it all depends on what you are trying to communicate or accomplish with your photography. Sometimes it comes down to how well you create and develop your photos in one process or another (your skill), sometimes it is a matter of personal preference, and sometimes your subject tells you how to proceed. The bottom line is to follow your instinct and preference and not let anyone (including the marketplace) tell you it must be a certain way.
Direct download: TOP-0059.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Podcasts are a labor of love for those who create them however, even love has a price. This podcast outlines some ways you might help support your local podcast (and in particular Thoughts on Photography) by purchasing items from sponsors, click-throughs to sites such as B&H Photo and or just a direct donation through PayPal.

Have no fear, this podcast will always be free to anyone who cares to download and listen to it but any way to offset some of the costs of doing the podcast would be greatly appreciated and if you can't help financially, then an email of appreciate goes a long too. Thanks in adavance.
Direct download: TOP-0058.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Angela Bacon-Kidwell's photography is the stuff of dreams (literally). Angela uses photography as a way to bring substance to her dreams and sub-conscious thoughts through her photographic imagery. Angela has also found recent success with her photography and her insights and thoughts are helpful and instructive to photographers no matter where they are on the spectrum regarding the promotion of their photography.
Direct download: TOP-0057.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

In this episode, I explore whether (at long last) inkjet prints can be considered collectible.
Direct download: TOP-0056.mp3
Category:printing -- posted at: 12:00am EST

In this episode, I discuss my own personal editing process (or workflow) from capture to the final decision regarding which photographs make the cut.
Direct download: TOP-0055.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:46pm EST

Miksang is a Tibetan word that translates as ‘Good Eye’, and is based on the Shambhala and Dharma Art teachings of the late meditation master, artist, and scholar Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. Michael Wood is a Miksang teacher and mentor who has been practicing and refining Miksang over the past thirty years. Our discussion focuses on how Miksang can be a direction to take in working towards living a photographic life through the integtration of contemplative photography.
Direct download: TOP-0054.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 3:49pm EST

Hiroshi Watanabe's photographic work is both inspiring and engaging. From his "Kabuki Players" series to his most recent (and very different) series "Ideologies in Paradise", Watanabe's photographic sensibilities and his experience help show us a path torward living a photographic life.

Note: Due to some technical issues with this episode, you will notice sound drop outs and a recurring blip sound. I apologize in advance and hope you still enjoy the interview.
Direct download: TOP-0053.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 9:08pm EST

In this podcast I discuss the isolation we sometimes feel when working on our photography and how, in reality, we are really more connected with other photographers than we realize. In a sense, we are all part of a photographic family and should never forget that fact when we find ourselves struggling to live the photographic life.
Direct download: TOP-0052.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:12pm EST

Polly Chandler is a fine art photographer based in Austin, Texas. Polly's subjects vary widely and this makes for a diverse and engaging portfolio of work. Her subjects range from portraits to still lives to landscapes to environmental photographs and everything in between yet still her work maintains a certain consistency of style and imagery.
Direct download: TOP-0051.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:04am EST

This podcast discusses the book "On Looking at Photographs: A Practical Guide" by David Hurn and Bill Jay. The book is published by Lenswork Publishing and provides some great insights on how to look at , or read, a photograph (which hopefully in turn helps us as photographers make better photographs).
Direct download: TOP-0050.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:58pm EST

Joe Wigfall is a New York-based street photographer who first came to my attention through a WNYC radio station project and contest highlighting the working styles and philosophies of several working street photographers in New York. The short video of Joe is wonderful to watch (as are many of the other videos made for other photographers). Joe went on to win the contest and I found his photos (and his process for making them) to be truly excellent. Joe's approach to street photography is refreshing, engaging, and above all, motivating.
Direct download: TOP-0049.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 9:37pm EST