Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Artist Interview, Photographer Nick Conte

Guild Member Nick Conte Interview

When did you start photographing?
I've been taking pictures since I was a kid but I became more serious about it when I took my first photography class in high school. That was when I had my first opportunity to use a camera with some manual features and different lenses, and spending time in the darkroom made me appreciate the real artistry.

Have you always used film? 
Yes. The time spent in the darkroom holds at least as much interest for me as taking the photo in the first place, so I've mostly stayed away from digital. Of course, I do have a digital camera for the photo album stuff - hanging out with friends and family.

How is using film different from using a digital camera?
I find the main difference for me to be the amount of effort I put into setting up a shot. With digital, I can just snap away without really taking my time to consider the basics of the composition. If it doesn't look right, I just take another one. With film, I slow down and really try to get it right because I know I won't see the image until I develop it - and it's usually too late to do it over.

You are setting up a dark room, what is the biggest challenge with setting up a dark room? 
Finding the space! I have a pretty small house, so I'm having to reorganize my basement to make it work. Making it light tight but with adequate ventilation is also interesting when you're trying to do it on a shoestring. There are a lot of great resources on the internet though, and friends have been a great help.

What do you like most about shooting with black and white film? 
Black and white really makes me think. How can I convey what I'm trying to show without color? How do I grab someone's eye without a bright patch of red or blue to pull them in? It's a constant challenge to me.
Do you have a favorite photographer that has influenced your photography? I think the work of Ansel Adams really got me to appreciate what can be done with black and white. I don't entirely see the influence in my work, but every time I see one of his photos I can't help but grab my camera. They remind me that there's always something to learn.

Any future projects you are working on? 
Once the dark room is up I'll be pouring over my negatives from the past few years to try and print some of them. I also have some medium-format images that haven't been printed as my film scanner can only do 35mm, so I'm really looking forward to putting those up at the Dedham Square Artist Guild in the near future. I'll also be doing a series of night shots from in and around Dedham.

1 comment:

  1. great interview!! No , I'm not influenced by the fact he's my son.