On Taking Pictures

On Taking Pictures

Every week, Jeffery Saddoris and Bill Wadman take on the art, science, and philosophy of photography and explore how they play out behind the camera in the process of making images. Insider insights for the novice, shop talk for the professional, and opinionated discussion for the interested observer of the field's trends and legacy.

Hosted by Bill Wadman and Jeffery Saddoris.



#257: Turn the Hat Around

March 28, 2017 at 11:15AM • 1 hour 17 minutes

This week, a followup to our depression discussion from a couple episodes ago and a letter from a listener. Despite how it sometimes feels, you’re not alone. It’s dark sometimes - really dark - but it’s not empty. We, along with countless listeners, have been there. Call us, email us, post in the group or talk to a family member or a friend. Make things. Share work. Every day, every picture is a chance to change course, either a little or a lot. Also, an offline phone call inspired a discussion around conventional wisdom pertaining to gear and equipment. Nick Veasey is our photographer of the week.


#256: Mash Potatoes In the Shape of the Hollywood Bowl

March 21, 2017 at 7:15PM • 1 hour 8 minutes

This week, prompted by a listener email, we talk about taking “those” photos that have been taken a million times before and why you should or shouldn't take your version. Also, a discussion around being open to the process and giving yourself permission to play, regardless of whether or not all the pieces are in place. Paul Outerbridge is our Photographer of the Week.


#255: If It Says VIP, It’s Not VIP

March 14, 2017 at 10:30AM • 1 hour 24 minutes

This week, we discuss the paralyzing power of depression via a story of a Chinese photographer called Ren Hang, who recently took his own life. Also, a quick roundup of some of our current favorite photo apps. Plus, we tease a couple articles to discuss next week around the creative process of artists like Beck, Tom Waits and Kendrick Lamar as well as the value of immersion via Chrissie Hynde. Laurent Nivalle is our Photographer of the Week.


#254: Bob Ross on Mute

March 7, 2017 at 2:30PM • 1 hour 37 minutes

This week, we’re starting out with a discussion around craft, inspired in part by the terrific Netflix series, Abstract. Also, we talk about two extremes of making work - at one end, we cite John Free and his 10 year photo essay project talking to people in the train yards in Los Angeles. On the other end, is the recent pop-up display of images and contact sheets from Robert Frank’s The Americans which, at the request of the photographer, were taken down and destroyed. Is one of these things a more valid expression of art than the other, or are they each a potentially necessary part of the creative process? Plus, with our five year anniversary coming up, we’re asking if you have any ideas on how you’d like to see us mark the occasion. If so, email us at podcast@ontakingpictures.com. Aaron Siskind is our Photographer of the Week.


#253: Imagineers Are Never Gonna Do South Park

February 28, 2017 at 11:00AM • 1 hour 36 minutes

This week, we respond to a couple listener emails — one involves questions around valuing work and the other is a followup to last week’s discussion around barriers. Also, what do you expect when you post your work online? Are you looking for constructive criticism, likes or is it just a vehicle for sharing what you make? Magnum photographer Eli Reed is our Photographer of the Week.


#252: That’s Not What Cameras And Books Were Made For

February 21, 2017 at 1:00PM • 1 hour 37 minutes

This week, an email from a listener sparks a discussion about shipping - specifically around our own expectations over what comes next. This leads us into a broader discussion around self image, privilege and fears - both real and imagined. Also, is an MFA in photography a good idea? Plus, we got lots of terrific phone calls from you and want more. Keep them coming! Herbert Randall is our Photographer of the Week.


#251: I’m Just Gonna Shut Up And Sit Here

February 14, 2017 at 3:15PM • 1 hour 23 minutes

This week, we’re talking about film gear and answering some listener questions about our favorite film cameras. Also, a discussion around the challenges of becoming derivative of your own work, especially when you’ve done it for decades. We use Billy Joel and Mark Seliger as examples. Plus, despite low earnings, camera makers are still developing some pretty incredible tech. Lorna Simpson is our Photographer of the Week.


#250: Like the Whos in Whoville

February 7, 2017 at 11:00AM • 1 hour 17 minutes

This week, have the tools taken the mystery out of photography? When you no longer think about technical requirements to make photographs, have we gone too far or is that the point? Also, a couple terrific submissions from listeners — including one that has us marvelling at photos from an earlier time in America. Plus, is there value in keeping meticulous records of your life? We’re celebrating Black History Month by spotlighting African American Photographers of the Week, beginning with Addison Scurlock.


#249: Ancillary Collaboration

January 31, 2017 at 11:45AM • 1 hour 23 minutes

This week, we discuss the seemingly innate skills and abilities of our fathers and grandfathers and how somewhere along the way, that “folk wisdom” was either lost or perhaps no longer needed. Were the skills handed down to them, or simply a byproduct of the time and place in which they lived? Have we evolved? Also, we mention a few terrific documentaries about art and design that are currently available for streaming. Chuck Stewart is our Photographer of the Week.


#248: Albatross Is On The Move

January 24, 2017 at 11:30AM • 1 hour 27 minutes

This week, a discussion around the historic worldwide Women’s March on Washington has us wondering “are we so used to things ‘being Photoshopped’ that we ignore actual photographic evidence?” Also, Jeffery gets a faux secret service detail. Plus, getting “the shot” in three minutes — what do you do if you didn’t get it? Has Fuji gotten the feel right with the new X100F and XT-20? Rusty Fox is our Photographer of the Week.