Red River Paper Pro Monday: John Conn

Red River Pro
The Photographer
John Conn is a free-lance professional from the Bronx, NY whose images have been published in TimeLife Books, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, American Photographer, Studio Photography and other major U.S. and overseas media. His work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of the City of New York and the Hoboken (NJ) Historical Museum.

The Client
Conn is both client and photographer. He sells on the street direct to the public and constantly challenges himself to take the kinds of images that he feels will grab passersby attention and make them stop to buy his work.

© John Conn

The Assignment
A self-assignment done in the early 1980s to shoot a series of images that capture the flavor of New York City’s underground transit system.

The Execution
“While I was focusing my Hasselblad on a young couple in the subway car, a hand with a knife thrust itself through an open window across from me. ‘Hey, yo! This be a good photo,’ said the knife’s unseen owner. I grabbed the shot and then, with a ‘See ya,’ the knife wielder disappeared down the platform. This image turned out to be one of my top selling subway shots.”

Post Production
“I vary the contrast and brightness and burn and dodge as I would in a darkroom. And that’s about it. When I shoot, I try to get a ‘complete’ image on film. I don’t manipulate my images or try to use Photoshop to ‘save’ bad shots. I also hate cropping. That’s why God gave you feet and the ability to switch lenses. All of my images are full frame.”

The Output
“I look for a luster surface for my B&W images, but the paper must also take well to a sepia tone with the warmer whites that I prefer, holding strong. Red River Arctic Polar Satin prints that I output on my Epson Stylus Pro 3800 printer give that edge to my work. From the highlights to the shadows, the ‘paper’ feel that comes through adds the depth to my subjects that I require.”

John Conn’s web site is at: His email address is: [email protected] Prints and portfolios may be purchased through his web site or personally from him in Union Square, NYC. For a list of art shows where he will be exhibiting, contact him by email.

Author: Red River Paper

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