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Red River Pros: John Conn

John Conn at Red River Paper Pro Corner

Free-lance professional 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.

John Conn - Free-lance professional photographer
© John Conn

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.

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."


See John Conn's exhibits at: Union Square, NYC. Prints and portfolios may be purchased personally from him in NYC. For a list of art shows where he will be exhibiting, contact him by email, [email protected].

Favorite Papers

UltraPro Satin

UltraPro Satin looks and feels just like traditional photo lab paper and features a medium depth luster finish.

Favorite Of: Jim DiVitale & Peter Randall

River Linen

River Linen adds a special dimension to your printed image with its premium quality linen surface paper.

Favorite Of: JVS & Helene Glassman

Aurora Art

Made using fine 100% cotton rag content, Aurora Art White and Aurora Art Natural offers the look and feel of fine art paper.

Favorite of: Marilyn Sholin, Matt Hoyle, Susan McCartney, & Kaitlin Walsh

Arctic Polar Satin

With its crisp blue white shade, Arctic Polar Satin ensures your images will project more brilliance. Its state of the art microporous coating will enhance details and color saturation.

Favorite of: Al Francekevich & Susan McCartney

Last updated: August 31, 2021

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