Monday, September 24, 2012

Garrison Art Center in New York for Photocentric 2012, Article and Exclusive Interview with Featured Photographer, Nelson Conde

More Than Meets The Eye | The Mind Behind The Lens 
Inside The Artistic Mind of Photographer, Nelson Conde

By Alexandra Christina Dedovitch, Creative Director for H and B Digital

I had the opportunity to meet with financial banker turned artistic photographer, Nelson Conde, at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan last week to discuss his most recent art exhibitions in which his unique approach to photography, the culturally diverse environment of New York City and the inspiration of other artists have played a vital role in his rising success as one of New York’s top photography newcomers.

Photo Credit | Gary B. Miller
Conde is a featured artist for the second year since 2010 in several of New York’s exclusive art and photography exhibitions held this year. One of his winning photos entitled “Occupy,” was featured at Barrett Art Center’s, Photowork 2012, on May 12th. Another photo entitled “Sun Capped Grace,” is currently on exhibit at Garrison Art Center's, Photocentric 2012, until September 30th

For both exhibitions, less than 60 winners were chosen out of the 1000+ submissions received and were hand-selected by the judges, some of whom are world-renown and leading figures in the art community. Conde, who steers clear of labeling himself as a “Photographer,” doesn’t let the glory get to his head and expresses a gracious attitude towards his achievements. “My photos won in 2010 so when I didn’t win in 2011, it was a humbling experience. Success is developed through failure. Know that you will fail but also remember that it’s what you do with that failure that will determine your success in the future. Whatever you do, don’t put yourself in a bubble. Step outside of your safety zone but be humble about it,” says Conde.

Both of Condes winning photos reflect his unique approach to photography which he says is “a combination of design and psychology. By taking the negative and positive space, I can transform the image into something new, without extensive post-processing, by simply clicking the shutter button.” This interesting approach can be found in the contrasting color and juxtaposition of the coordinated businessmen and the disjointed mannequins in “Occupy,” or of the Grace Building on 6th Avenue that is visually transformed into a snow topped mountain towering above New Yorkers in “Sun Capped Grace.” 

"Occupy" By Nelson Conde
"Sun Capped Grace" By Nelson Conde

Native New Yorkers like Conde, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, have a knack for wearing many different hats in their everyday lives which can be accredited to the cultural diversity surrounding them on a regular basis. Conde gracefully embraces this diversity by using it as a positive source of inspiration to fuel his own creative energy and as a way to give back to others.  During the day he works as the head of finance for a major bank in Manhattan, but on his free time he is busy organizing and promoting events for musicians, painters, photographers and artists, many of whom are masters of their crafts and some of Conde’s closest friends. “There are three people in my life who have inspired my photography, the first happen to to be painters and art gallery owners, Steve and Barbara Riddle, the second is a jazz musician, Chris Crocco and the third is a photographer, Lori Adams.” In this way, Conde receives inspiration from different types of artists working in varying mediums and not only shows his appreciation but also supports their form of artwork by creating and organizing events that will pay tribute to and showcase their artistic talents.

Photo Credit |  Lori Adams
You might call Conde, the underground art scene's "Superman," who spends the daytime hours guised as Clark Kent, a professional and career-oriented figure then transforms into a superhero at night, or in the case of Conde, a creative maverick eagerly participating in and advocating for the arts in his own visionary way. “It’s important to speak with other artists who work with different tools and mediums, painters with the brush, musicians with the instrument…and find out what’s in their hearts by asking them how they see and transform space and light. My tool is my camera,” says Conde. Being exceptional at your artistic craft comes from “being true to your truth of art and your truth of thoughts. It will reflect in your artwork.” 

Olympus PEN E-PL1
Conde’s formula for transcendence even extends to the types of cameras he chooses to use when shooting. "Occupy" was shot with a Canon PowerShot G10 and "Sun Capped Grace" was shot with the Olympus PEN E-PL1.  The Canon PowerShot G10 is a compact digital camera that offers standard point-and-shoot features with an additional option of shooting with “Manual Mode,” which allows photographers, like Conde, to adjust the cameras settings such as aperture, shutter speed and white balance. Most professional photographers prefer to shoot with digital SLR cameras which offer a wider variety of advanced features in addition to more lens and camera accessory options. However, the downside of digital SLRs is that they are typically bulkier in size, heavier in weight and more expensive than even the highest-end compact digital camera. “I prefer point-and-shoots over Digital SLRS because they give me the freedom to shoot life as it happens. However, the Micro Four Thirds series is another option if you want the ability to change lenses” says Conde. 

A primary advantage of point-and-shoot cameras is the compact and lightweight design making them easier for users to carry around and to travel with. Conde will shoot with the Olympus PEN E-PL1, one of the compact models in the Olympus Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens system when he wants the ability to use various lenses without having to upgrade to a digital SLR. According to Conde, “DSLRS are excellent tools to add quality to technical essence but the art comes from the person.”  

Olympus XZ-1 Digital Camera
Recently, Conde purchased the Olympus XZ-1 from H and B Digital, a small but cozy photography and electronics shop nestled in the heart of Midtown, Manhattan. Although, H and B Digital is one of the lesser-known photography stores in New York, Conde prefers H and B Digital "because of their integrity and because Tony, the store manager, cares about customers. He will go out of his way to make sure you are satisfied with any product you purchase." The Olympus XZ-1 is a new compact point-and-shoot which also offers "Manual Mode," in addition to a variety of other impressive features. Conde was kind enough to supply us with some shots he took over the weekend with his new digital camera.

Nelson Conde | Olympus XZ-1

Nelson Conde | Olympus XZ-1

Nelson Conde's approach to his own life story beautifully illustrates the approach he takes to photography and art. As a full-time professional businessman working in Manhattan and a family-man who resides just outside of the city with his wife and their three children, it might be difficult to imagine how he can also thrive as a flourishing artist, photographer, jazz music promoter, event organizer, with an innovative but totally down-to-earth  personality as well. And yet, it appears that he may have truly mastered that delicate balance between work and play that many of us struggle to achieve or struggle to sustain. He knows when to think inside the box and when to step outside of it, making him both a successful businessman and a successful artist. So to all aspiring photographers, artists and simply any juggler of life, a few words from a true New York renaissance man and real lover of the arts -  “Know all the rules...and then break them.

Nelson Conde is a longtime photography friend of H and B Digital.  Any of the digital cameras mentioned in this article can be purchased at discount prices from H and B

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