I am a serious podcast junkie. I currently have over 16 days of unheard podcasts. News, arts and culture take up most of my bandwidth.
Recently — and by that I mean the last few months — I’ve been working on two big podcast series.
Earlier in the summer I finished listening to Jeff Curto’s excellent History of Photography Podcast. As someone who liked school, loves photography and dabbles in history, I found myself really getting into the fifteen-part rebroadcasts of Curto’s college course.
I can hear some of you out there now. “But, Jeff, it’s an audio podcast. And photography is an inherently visual medium. How does that work?”
Well, the podcast has two things going for it. First, the podcast is enhanced with a lot of photographs, which are in sync with the lecture. Furthermore, Prof. Curto is a very gifted lecturer. He describes the photographs quite well, along with the ideas they contain and the artists who made them. (It probably helps that I had previously seen many of the photographs, too.)
A new semester of classes just started, so consider subscribing to it.
I also want to mention Adobe’s Lightroom podcast.
I love Lightroom! It’s a brilliant piece of software for photographers, taking all of the most important parts of Adobe Photoshop that a photographer needs, adding superb image management features, and putting it within a user interface that emphasizes workflow. It challenges the widely held view among geeks (and probably most software users) that powerful software has to be difficult to use. It makes me want to write better software myself.
So what’s so great about a podcast about Lightroom? George Jardine, formerly the product manager of Lightroom, brought together a diverse group of people during the public betas of Lightroom and had them talk about a bunch of subjects that really interest me. Professional photographers discussed photography and their digital workflows, which gave me ideas how to improve my own. A couple of analog printmakers took the long view, helping me think about how to make better digital prints. And then there were the software engineers.
Software engineers? Really?
Yeah, it sounds odd, especially since I try to keep my photography discussions about art and not about gear or f/stops or color profiles or pixels. But . . . I know a few things about image processing, color science, and software engineering. And I know how hard it is to make really great software. So I really appreciated being able to learn tidbits from people with more experience than me, as they talked about the things that interest me. And these guys aren’t just dilettantes. No, these Adobe engineers are deep into it; they know the trade-offs you have to make in the real world when implementing image processing and I/O algorithms. And did I mention that they worked really, really hard with Lightroom to get it right.
If you use Lightroom and want to get some ideas how to use it more effectively, you should listen to the podcast. Or if you just want to hear about the evolution of a software project, it’s also for you.
Finally, check out Edward Burtynsky’s SALT lecture on the “10,000 Year Gallery”. The SALT (Seminars about Long Term Thinking) podcasts by the Long Now Foundation cover a wide range of subjects, all of which attempt to get us to think on a millennium-long timeframe. (At first I thought it was something like a cult or a Burning Man-esque art project; but now I see it for what it is: transcendent, if somewhat eccentric.) Anyway, Burtynsky is helping create a gallery of photographs about who we are today that should last at least 10,000 years and will be installed inside an enormous clock that will toll every 10,000 years. Seriously… Not the most exciting podcast episode, but in general the whole seminar series is worth listening to.