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Lone Tree South of Town, Photograph by Richard Quinney. WHS Image ID 47120

Lone Tree South of Town, De Kalb County, Illinois, ca. 1984. WHi 47120

Things Once Seen


Richard Quinney Photographs

"Some of my best times are when I can see clearly through the glass of the viewfinder."
— Richard Quinney

Richard Quinney has spent more than 40 years documenting his life, time and community through photography. Intimately tied to and intrigued by place, the Wisconsin-born photographer, scholar, and writer has written several books that combine autobiographical writing with images of the places he has lived and traveled. His most recent book, Things Once Seen, contains photographs Quinney donated to the Society's permanent collection.

Born in 1934, Quinney was raised and educated in southern Wisconsin but left the state and farm life for the city and a career in academics. A well-known sociologist noted for his philosophical approach to criminology, Quinney taught at universities throughout the United States before returning to the Midwest with his wife to explore his home once again.

The author of several books on sociology, criminology, and social theory, Quinney has more recently concentrated on books that combine his autobiographical explorations of place and home with photography. These books include Journey to a Far Place, For the Time Being, Borderland, Once Again the Wonder, Where Yet the Sweet Birds Sing, Of Time and Place, and Tales of the Middle Border. Manuscript drafts as well as photographs from several of these books are available in the Society archives.

Accompanied by his journal notes, this collection of photographs comprises the six chapters of Things Once Seen, which document what Quinney once saw and the life he has lived. Quinney's work was also the subject of a previous image gallery on the construction of the World Trade Center.


View the Gallery

Browse Photographs from Things Once Seen by Chapter




Suggestions for Further Reading

Construction of the World Trade Center, 1969. Documentary photographs by Richard Quinney.

Borderland Books. After years of working with commercial publishers, Richard Quinney decided to publish his forthcoming works in the tradition of art and craft printing. Borderland was founded in 2005 as an independent publisher of quality books.

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