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RANGELY | For more than 40 years Conrado Quezada Escandon has been taking photos and looking for ways to say something interesting with his camera. With a career stretching from large cities in northern Mexico to the small town of Rangely, Quezada has found plenty of captivating stories to tell with his photography.
Sitting across a table discussing his photography, Quezada’s passion for pictures is readily apparent, “If a picture doesn’t say something I won’t take it,” he said.
Quezada began his career in his hometown of Hermosillo, the capital city of Sonora, Mexico. As a teenager both of his older brothers worked at the local television station and encouraged him to apply for a job. He began by working the boom microphone but soon was asked to help in the darkroom where he learned how to manage negatives and photo processing. Here he discovered his passion lay behind the still lens. Quezada described watching the first moon landing the summer of 1969 live at the news station and being excited by the possibilities that the future might hold for technology and news. Eventually the television station was purchased by a larger corporation based out of Mexico City and Quezada landed a new job as a newspaper photographer.
Quezada said that at first he struggled with his role at the newspaper, not knowing what to take photos of. However, one afternoon he was able to capture a photo of local police apprehending a bank robber. He said the moment was life changing and he realized he had to, “tell a story people want to see.” Quezada was hooked on the in-the-moment-action nature of press photography.
As digital photography gained momentum and traditional photo processing began to fade, Quezada decided it was time for something new, so he and his family made the decision to emigrate to the United States. They first landed in Los Angeles, Calif., where he worked taking photographs for advertisements and the occasional documentary. After visiting family in Rangely the Quezadas discovered the appeal of a quiet and calm town. Within a few years they made the move and have lived in Rangely for the past 12 years. Quezada says the sunsets in Rangely provide photographs and he enjoys heading down the Grand Mesa for unique shots.
The Quezadas regularly return to Mexico to visit family and take needed items such as clothing. Three years ago while visiting he began sifting through his massive files of old photos and negatives from his years of photography in Mexico. Quezada decided that he needed to create something from his time there, something he could leave in Mexico, making it easier to move on. With the support of family and friends he compiled his book, “Tiempo Inmovil,” which translates loosely to Time Stand Still and is currently available on Amazon.
As Quezada flips through his book he cannot help but laugh and tell the stories behind the pictures. The pages are filled with photos of every sort: landscapes, portraits, sports, natural disasters and more. He lands on an award-winning color shot of former Mexican Presidential Candidate Luis Colosio handing a flower to his wife. Taken in 1993, Candidate Colosio was assassinated shortly after the photo. In the book the picture is juxtaposed by a photo of a statue erected in honor of Colosio after being vandalized with red paint. As Quezada tells the story of how he was able to capture the tender moment between husband and wife he beams with pride, clearly fond of the memory and his achievement.
Quezada is no stranger to taking on challenges in order to get the shot. “Sometimes you have to risk it to get good photos,” he said while describing photos taken from the open bay of airplanes and capturing Mexican drug fields burning.
Unlike some photographers Quezada is excited about the technological developments in the photography field and the ability to work with pictures on the computer. “Plus, you don’t have to worry about ruining a photo while processing,” he added.
Since moving to Rangely Quezada has found himself taking a variety of pictures including some popular shots of The TANK and local events. He has started contributing regularly to the Herald Times and is often seen around town, camera in hand. “If I don’t take pictures every day I just don’t feel good,” he said.
By JEN HILL | firstname.lastname@example.org