Thoughts on Photography (interview)
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.

The International Guild of Visual Peacemakers (IGVP) is an organization devoted to the breaking down of stereotypes by displaying the beauty of cultures around the world. The IGVP seeks, through it’s members, to build bridges of peace across ethnic, cultural, and religious lines through visual communication that is both accountable to an ethical standard and created by those who authentically care about people. For this podcast, I interview Mario Mattei, president and co-founder of IGVP.

Direct download: TOP-0114.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 2:19pm EST

Pete Brook is a freelance writer who focuses on the politics of media, visual culture and issues of social justice as they relate to photography and photojournalism. Since 2008, he has published writing about photography produced within and about prison on his own website Prison Photography.

This year, Prison Photography was awarded a Photoblog Award and Prison Photography was also recommended among the Top Ten Best Photoblogs by the British Journal of Photography.

For two years, Pete was a volunteer art teacher and working board member with University Beyond Bars based here in Seattle. But he'll soon be leaving to embark upon a 12-week research trip interviewing photographers who've documented the rise of America's prison industrial complex.You can support his Kickstarter project until September 29th, 2011.

Pete is also lead blogger for Raw File,’s photography blog. Pete is interested in how images are manufactured, distributed and consumed.

Direct download: TOP-0113.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 10:45am EST

Dave Anderson is an image-maker whose work as both a photographer and filmmaker have been celebrated in the United States and abroad. Dave's project Rough Beauty was the winner of the 2005 National Project Competition from the Santa Fe Center for Photography and became the focus of his first book, which was published in three languages with an essay by Anne Wilkes Tucker. His latest monograph, One Block: A New Orleans Neighborhood Rebuilds, was published in 2010 by Aperture Books and featured in the New York Times and Time Magazine as well as on Good Morning America and CNN.

Direct download: TOP-0112.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Wouter Brandsma has been involved with photography since his childhood. He uses photography as a form of personal expression. In January of 2011 Wouter began a photo-a-day project and posted his results to his blog. I began following Wouter's journey at the outset and have been intrigued at how his photographs truly represents a personal exploration rather than merely snapshots of his surroundings. Now, six months into the project, I felt it was time to talk with Wouter about this engaging technique for living a photographic life.

Direct download: TOP-0111.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Matt Black is a documentary photographer who has focused much of the past fifteen years on photographing forgotten people and places. He has a deep interest in the themes of changing rural economies, migration and cultural change. His work has received many honors and has been noted for its combination of emotional depth, social conviction, and visual intensity.

Matt's work has received grants and awards from the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the California Council for the Humanities, and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace. Matt has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and has received a Golden Eye award from the World Press Photo Foundation. Matt is currently raising funds through to continue a long-term project called The People of Clouds which is documenting the migration of a whole culture of indigenous Mexicans called the Mixteca (or People of Clouds) to the Central Valley of California in the United States. This fundraising effort ends on August 23rd of 2011 so please visit Matt's Kickstarter page for more details or to pledge.

Direct download: TOP-0110.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 10:47am EST

Susana Raab describes herself as "a recovering English major who lives to create visual narratives." Her photographs strike a balance between poignancy and humor (with a bit of irony sometimes thrown in). Raab's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has received critical recognition from many sources.

Direct download: TOP-0109.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 8:40pm EST

Christopher Churchill is a documentary photographer based in Massachusetts whose work has been featured in exhibitions throughout the United States, has been published widely, and is in the permanent collections of several museums. His most recent project "American Faith" examines the topic of faith from within several contexts including religious as well as culture and beliefs.

Direct download: TOP-0108.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 8:20pm EST

Morea Steinahuer is a photojournalist who's work has taken her across Latin America and Haiti. Morea most recently has been working on collaborative projects connected to end-of-life care and families effected by migration/immigration legislation.  A person who seeks out environments of collaboration, mutual mentorship, and engagement around social issues - Morea is someone who is always open to exploring new project ideas and forming new partnerships.

Direct download: TOP-0107.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:37pm EST

In this podcast, Gordon Stettinius returns to Thoughts on Photography to discuss his involvement with Gita Lenz and how that led to publishing a book of her photography and mounting an exhibition as a way of introducing her to a new audience. Gordon also discusses his latest photographic projects as well as his new photographic book publishing company.

Direct download: TOP-0106.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 6:33pm EST

Leslie Granda-Hill's approach to social documentary photography involves not just making great photographs that tell a story but making great photographs that allow her subjects a way to tell their story from their perspective. Her recent project, Wounded Warriors, exemplifies this personal approach to the photographic essay.

Direct download: TOP-0103.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 12:00am EST

Documentary photographer Eliza Gregory focuses on the lifecycle of communites be they in Cuba, Tanzania, or the United States. In addition to working on photographic projects around the world, Eliza also works for PhotoPhilanthropy, an organization committed to supporting documentary photographers in carrying out their work. 

Direct download: TOP-0102.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 2:02pm EST

Gloria Baker Feinstein is a photographer who follows her heart when deciding what to photograph. Her earlier work explored childhood, the relationships between twins, and even the Holocaust. Her latest book, "Kutuuka", focuses on the children of the St. Mary Kevin Orphanage in Uganda and, while a great documentary project in itself, it is the combination of the black and white and color photographs along with drawings made by the children and included in the book which elevate this work to a new level. All proceeds from the sale of the book go towards supporting a non-profit organization called Change the Truth that Gloria started to continue to provide assistance to the orphanage.

Direct download: TOP-0101.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 6:32pm EST

In this podcast I interview Matt Eich, a documentary/photojournalist freelance photographer and founding member of the Luceo Images, a photographic cooperative.

Direct download: TOP-0098.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 3:11pm EST

Jeff Curto wears many hats in his photographic life. He is a professor of photography at College of DuPage and he is the host of two well known podcasts, Camera Position, and History of Photography (which is an exhanced podcast of Jeff's lectures for a course he teaches each term). MOst importantly, Jeff is also an excellent and highly regarded photographer in his own right. In addition to visiting his web site, you can see (and buy) a folio of Jeff's photography which was recently published by Lenswork.

Direct download: TOP-0093.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 3:44pm 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Howard Zehr is known worldwide for his work in transforming our understanding of justice, particularly restorative justice, and is a faculty member at Eastern Mennonite University's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. He is also the General Editor of The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding series of which The Little Book of Contemplative Photography is a part. Zehr is also an accomplished photographer (particularly in creating the documentary-style photographs for his books) and teaches workshops on contemplative photography which promote "mindfulness" in photography.
Direct download: TOP-0046.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 6:19pm EST

Ibarionex Perello is a California-based photographer, writer, and educator. Ibarionex is a contributing writer for Shutterbug Magazine, PC Photo, and Digital PhotoPro. He is co-founder of Alas Media, a studio dedicated to telling stories through a variety of media, and is the host of the Candid Frame, a podcast focused on interviews of photographers across the wide spectrum of the photographic world, and FotoBoy, a blog on photography.
Direct download: TOP-0044.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 8:10pm EST

Meg Birnbaum is a photographer based in Massachusetts whose photographs evoke a certain modern sense of nostalgia. From her botanical photos to her scenes from county fairs to her almost fantastical world in the "Fly by Night" portfolio, Meg's work stimulates our imagination and our memories of events both lived and only dreamed of. Some photo reviews mentioned in this episode include:

Review Santa Fe

Direct download: TOP-0041.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 9:43pm EST

Lorenzo is a New York City based street photographer who began using digital cameras just a few years ago. His use of the digital cameras as a part of his work flow has liberated him and has allows him to achieve new creative (and prolific heights) with his photography including several self-published books through Lorenzo's intense passion and interest in photography helps him to lead a photographic life in the truest sense.
Direct download: TOP-0038.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 9:48pm EST

In this podcast, photographer Aline Smithson and I have a conversation regarding her approach to photography, the creative process, and a wide range of topics related to the photographic life. You can see Aline's work and read more about her at her web site. Aline also maintains a blog called Lenscratch where she frequently discusses work by other photographers and news of interest to the fine art photographer.
Direct download: TOP-0035.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 9:52pm EST

In this podcast, photographer Gordon Stettinius and I have a conversation where we discuss Gordon's approach to photography, his creative process, and a certain philosophy of photography. You can see Gordon's work and read more about him at his web site.

During the course of the discussion, we also make mention of a web site called HolgaMods which is Holga camera modification and enhancement business run by Randy Smith. Since we mentioned it in the podcast, I just thought it would be good to make the link available here.

Direct download: TOP-0033.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 9:45pm EST

In this podcast I interview photographer Bill Vaccaro to discuss his photography, his creative process, and how he goes about living a photographic life. You can see Bill's work and read more about him at his web site.

Some other web sites and/or photographers mentioned on this show include:

Mark Tucker
Keith Carter
James Fee
Fan Ho
Rocky Schenck

Direct download: TOP-0029.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 9:03pm EST

In this podcast I interview photographer Susan Burnstine to discuss her photography, her creative process, and how she goes about living a photographic life. You can see Susan's work and read more about her at her web site:
Direct download: TOP-0022.mp3
Category:interview -- posted at: 11:20am EST