I used to have to face a brutal commute. For 5 days a week, I would be trapped in my car for an average of 2.5 hours, all to make a 30-mile round trip. Though I had tried listening to music, talk radio and books on tape to help endure the notorious stop-and-go traffic of the 405 and 210 Freeways, it was podcasts that transformed the drive from feeling like an extreme sport to an enjoyable part of my day.
It was my fondness for podcasts that helped inspire my own show The Candid Frame, but I still listen to a lot of shows to help keep me informed and inspired, especially when it comes to my photography.
Though there are a lot more choices than I had 8 years ago, I wanted to offer my own personal favorite podcasts (most of which are photo related) for you to discover and explore. I hope you find enjoyment in them whether or not you face your own challenging commute. They are listed here in no particular order.
Martin Bailey Photography Podcast
Martin’s podcast was one of the first podcasts that I began listening to and he continues to be one of my favorites. A British ex-pat now living and working in Japan, he is an amazing landscape and nature photographer who has made the transition from a “real job” to a full-time career as a photographer, educator and podcaster. His generosity with his knowledge and experience can be found in abundance every week on his show where he shares photographs and the stories behind them, providing a fascinating glimpse into the creative process. His openness, especially about facing a life-threatening crisis a few years ago, has made him all the more inspirational.
Photography: Tips from the Top Floor with Chris Marquardt
For many of us who identify as photography podcasters, Chris Marquardt inspired many of us to create our own shows. Based on Germany, Chris began his show as a sidebar to a professional career with Hewlett Packard. But after being laid off, he made the leap to become a full-time photographer and used the podcast to chronicle his journey. He delivers in-depth information about different principles of photography in a fun and engaging way, which makes him popular among beginning and emerging photographers. Like Martin, he has led workshops around the world including several trips to the Himalayan Mountains.
On Taking Pictures
Whenever, I start listening to Jeffery Saddoris and Bill Wadman banter on their show, On Taking Pictures, it feels like I’m eavesdropping on a wonderful conversation between friends. Bill, a professional portrait photographer based in New York, and Jeffery, the found and creator of The Faded and Blurred photography website, engage each week is frank, honest and sometimes heartbreaking discussions about what it means to be creative. While they discuss interesting and even controversial topics about photography, it’s their wit and willingness to cut down to the bone that makes the hour or so I spend with them feel as if it’s time well spent. They provide a great insight into the personal and professional challenges faced by anyone who want to make a life from being creative and they present it in a way that can lead to deep thought and laughter, often simultaneously.
History of Photography Podcast
Jeff Curto began his podcast by recording his class sessions on the topic of the history of photography at the College of Dupage. Each semester, he would record and release his class sessions to the world, expanding his classroom from a small group of students to a worldwide audience. It’s been great fun to learn how photography has evolved and changed. It’s been especially insightful to see how the concerns and controversies over the transition from film to digital actually mirrors similar transitions that are rooted back to the very early days of photography. If you want an alternative to the talk about gear, this is the show for you.
Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
Though Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is not a photography podcast, it is one of the best interview shows available. His conversations with artists including musicians, actors, filmmakers and others are some of the most insightful and engaging conversations that you can imagine listening to. On numerous episodes, I have found myself getting excited about the questions that Thorn has asked, because it’s just the question that I would have liked to have posed myself. Even though most of the guests are not photographer’s, the episode can leave me excited about being a creative.
Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin
Much like Jesse Thorn, Alec Baldwin is a wonderful interviewer as well as incredibly talented actor. He has an ability to completely disarm his guests and create a space where they reveal themselves as if there weren’t a microphone present. Like Thorn, there is a sincere curiosity and interest that you hear in Baldwin’s voice as he has not only asks his questions but really engages his guests in the art of conversation. Though his many guests are some of the most accomplished and successful people in the arts, business and politics, you come away feeling that you’ve heard as honest and open a discussion as you could imagine.
The Art of Photography
Ted Forbes’ The Art of Photography is the only video podcast on my list. I prefer audio podcasts because they allow me to be engaged in other things while I am listening. However, Ted’s video, especially his profile of great photographers such as Gordon Parks, Fred Herzog, Saul Leiter, William Eggleston and others really demand my full attention, something that I don’t hesitate to provide him. He not only share images and the stories behind these great photographers, but he also produces episodes where he discusses principles of both digital and traditional photography techniques. It’s a show that is much like a multi-course dinner, with each morsel a pleasure to take in.
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