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Is the light in Chicago different than the light in New York? Can “street photography” set the subjects and control the scene? And just how long should you follow people carrying balloons in order to get a photograph? These are some of the questions we answer in this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast.
We welcome to the program photographers Nina Welch Kling and Clarissa Bonet. Kling lives in New York and Bonet in Chicago, although both are from other places entirely. We talk a bit about the differences in each city’s visual make-up and what defines street photography, but we quickly turn toward the styles and workflow of our two guests.
With Bonet we discuss how she constructs scenes using the language of street photography to tell internal stories. Her work is large scale, exacting, and utilizes the strong light, deep shadows, and geometries of the urban environment, but as we find out, she produces and casts her medium format photographs to get the exact image she wants, free of the disruption of the hustling crowd and uncooperative elements. We also ask about her incredible nightscape compositions called “Stray Light” and how they evolved to become large, collaged prints.
After a break, we focus on the work of Nina Welch Kling and learn how she’s grown to understand the movement of light through the streets of New York. Kling also discusses positioning herself (“corralling”) and holding her camera to get the angles she needs, as well as to communicate her intention to potential subjects. We also mention Fujifilm cameras and the wide-angle lenses she prefers. We ask about her series “Duologue”, which pairs two photos together, and how that pairing can add or change meaning. We also dig into the classic themes of anonymity, isolation, and wonder in street photography and how quarantine redirected her practice a bit.
Join us for this insightful and easygoing conversation.
Guests: Clarissa Bonet and Nina Welch Kling
Photograph © Clarissa Bonet