The Conn Artist

© 2011 TANIA FUENTEZ MEDIA

I recently saw a bumper sticker that read, “Life Without Art is Stupid.” I agree, but that’s pretty obvious if you know anything about my love of music, dance, photography, painting, graphic design, sculpture, a really good meal. OK, I’m rambling but stick with this for a minute. Trust, these gems will keep you afloat when you least expect it and usually need them the most.

More often than not, I’ll come across something interesting or strike up a conversation with kindred spirits who value substance over pretense, refuse to forsake true creativity, prefer living in the moment and aren’t afraid to dig a little deeper while looking at the bigger picture. A few weeks ago, I met John Conn, a modest Bronx-born photographer who spent much of the 1970s and 80s capturing a pivotal moment in New York City history. His black and white photos of the Bowery Mission and gritty subway scenes first grabbed my attention last year at a street fair where his son was selling T-shirts and those captivating portraits. I couldn’t afford one at the time but I had a feeling our paths would eventually converge. If time permits, stop by his booth at the Union Square Holiday Market and decide for yourself. Many of the images in the subway series are part of the permanent collection at the Museum of the City of New York.

Conn’s photos are compelling, real and in many cases, a mere memory of an era long gone as New York evolves and seemingly moves further away from its heart and soul. As a photographer, I share that same passion and take a lot of random shots of whatever inspires me to pull out the D90 (warning: Nikon vs Canon equipment debate overrated; all in the eye of the beholder). Who knows what lasting impact those images will have.

“Life without art is stupid.”

Recommended sites:

John Conn Photography: http://www.theconnartist.net/

John Conn interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9jADnk5gAw

Museum of the City of New York: http://www.mcny.org/

ReGeneration: http://www.youtube.com/hyundaiusa

 

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