Podcast Review #3 - The Candid Frame

The Candid Frame is - according to its own hype - the "World's Best Interview Show About Photograph" (sic) Ibarionex Perello. This is the second time I've written this review. My first thoughts were fairly dismissive. Catching some of the more recent podcast episodes, unfortunately I don't remember which specific ones, I was underwhelmed by what I heard. The problem was I had no idea who I was listening to, what kind of work they produced, why Ibarionex had chosen to interview them... it was quite confusing and without some form of hook, the interviews were just not grabbing me. This isn't because of Ibarionex, he's a good interviewer and lets his guests talk while still controlling and steering the discussion. It's just he could have pulled any random stranger off the street, said they were a photographer and started talking.

As I say, I was prepared to switch off and not even bothering reviewing the show at that point but I felt that was unfair. When I went to the Candid Frame webpage things started to come together; it showed that while the podcast seems dedicated entirely to interviews, the blog had more content that was more relevant and engaging. It covers more subjects than simply interviews but more importantly it did feature images & links to the people on the show. I realised then that the podcast was only really half of what the Candid Frame was trying to offer.

It still presented me with issues though. From all of the podcast-related content on there I still didn't recognise any names... who should I start with & why? After scrolling down the list quite a way I ended up spotting a name I did recognise, Ted Forbes. He also runs a photography podcast (and will be featured in due course) so I picked out his episode and started listening.

Although it was quite old and outdated in terms of what I've know Ted has been doing recently it was instantly much more engaging because I knew the guest. The interview was way more fun to listen to and the whole show worked out much better - I can see now what the appeal of it would be, especially for photographers you know. Ibarionex also seemed to become more relatable as a host, asking questions that were engaging and where I was genuinely interested in hearing the results. He also seemed to increase his enthusiasm to match Ted's which helped me engage a lot more too.

Building on this, I then picked another photographer at random and gave the podcast another try. I went for an interview with someone named @_xST, guessing that they were prominent on Instagram and that I could use that to look at their work while listening to the podcast. Sure enough @_xST (pronounced "exist") is a profilic street/portrait photographer working in the US and publishing on Instagram. Being able to view his work alongside the interview worked well - however I can imagine that if it took more effort to find someone's work or I was in an audio-only situation where I didn't have photos to look at, the interviews might well struggle to engage again. My suggestion here might be to use an enhanced podcast format which cycles through selections of the person's work while you listen. By the end, I'd started following @_xST on instagram having found another photographer whose work I admire. The podcast can consider that a job well done :)

Personally, I've subscribed. While I may not listen to every episode I'll be sure to keep an eye on my feed for names I recognise or that sound interesting. As well as subscribing I'm also planning to revisit the back catalogue and look for photographers I have heard of and hear what they have to say.

The Candid Frame probably isn't for everybody but for people who like finding new artists to follow & learn from it provides a niche I've yet to see filled anywhere else.

Pros

  • Other podcasts feature interviews but I know of no other which focuses all their attention on interviews! Sets it apart from other podcasts in this regard.
  • Can be useful to find & learn about new photographers you may have never heard of
  • Accompanying blog is good, with a range of content & materials beyond just interviews

Cons

  • The podcasts can be quite dry - especially without any prior knowledge of who you are listening to.
  • Without seeing their work the interviewees can be hard to engage with. Looking them up ahead of time can help, but it can be a catch 22 situation; should I bother to look at some new photographer's work to decide if I want to listen to them, or should I listen to them to see if I am interested in their work?
  • Could be easy to drift away from the podcast - if there are multiple weeks where the interviewee isn't someone you know, or care to learn about, it could be easy for episodes to pile up and ultimately lose interest. This is a risk when the podcast contet is entirely "one-dimensional" around a given hook, in this case it's only interviews.