Podcast: Greg Constantine—The Story Demands More

What makes a photographer follow their moral compass and photograph the stories they feel need to be told, no matter what the personal costs? Furthermore, how do they do so without the support of a news outlet or even an agency to distribute that work? And then, what if they decide to shoot primarily with black-and-white film?!

On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Greg Constantine, who made and continues to make these decisions. In this affable conversation, we find out what prompted Constantine to pick up a camera and how he made the subject of “statelessness” a recurring theme in his work. We also learn why he continued to shoot film, even after digital became the more affordable and accepted format, and why the more established route of assignments for news outlets was not the best path for his storytelling. We also discuss the financing of his work through a combination of grants, commissions, and out-of-pocket spending, the obstacles to exhibiting documentary photography and, ultimately, the satisfaction of seeing the positive impact his work has had.

As mentioned, much of Constantine’s work documents oppressed communities, and he has lived and traveled extensively in Asia and, more recently in Europe, to follow stories of migration and persecution. Specifically, he has worked in Burma with the Rohingya people, with the Nubians in Kenya, and with communities around the world that live without the basic right of citizenship. His current project, Seven Doors, has brought him back to his home country to document stories on immigration detention. Constantine’s work ultimately did make it into well-recognized newspapers. He has published books and won awards, and his work has been exhibited in the halls of the U.S. Capitol Building, but he continues to press forward—guided not by credit lines, but by the desire to grow as a photographer, to be inspired by the people he photographs, and to tell the stories that demand to be told. Join us for this inspiring conversation.

Guest: Greg Constantine

Kenya, 2008, from “Nowhere People” © Greg Constantine
Kuwait, 2011, from “Nowhere People” © Greg Constantine
Italy, 2014, from “Nowhere People” © Greg Constantine
Iraq, 2014, from “Nowhere People” © Greg Constantine
Bangladesh, 2017, from “Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya” © Greg Constantine
Bangladesh, 2017, from “Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya” © Greg Constantine
Bangladesh, 2017, from “Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya” © Greg Constantine
Bangladesh, 2017, from “Exiled to Nowhere: Burma’s Rohingya” © Greg Constantine
United States, 2018, from “Seven Doors” © Greg Constantine
United States, 2018, from “Seven Doors” © Greg Constantine
United States, 2018, from “Seven Doors” © Greg Constantine
Malaysia, 2017, from “Seven Doors” © Greg Constantine
Greg Constantine on the B&H Photography Podcast © John Harris
Allan Weitz and Greg Constantine © John Harris
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Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: John Harris
Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves

2 Comments

Fantastic interview with you guys as usual. I don't know if it would put everyone to sleep but I found it fascinating listening to Greg about the rigors of acquiring grants. Maybe one day this could be a topic. Heck, I had a hard time asking my dad for money! BTW you guys have definitely been knocking it out of the ballpark with your work. Thanks for the great info and the work you put into making a great show.

Terrell...  Thanks so much, that really means a lot.   And yes, 'grant application' has been a back-burner topic that we have spoken about approaching in an episode, so thanks for that input, and glad to hear you liked that part because we almost cut it out of the edit...it was a time thing...but its always worth noting how much work photographers like Greg do "behind the scenes."

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