Herbert Quick: Photographer
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Aesthetics: the afterthought elaborated

Quick sees photography in straightforward terms. It is, he says -- paraphrasing Berenice Abbott -- representational by virtue of the image formed by the lens as well as the chemistry that permits its faithful translation onto film and paper. He can find no reason why this rather marvelous function should be distorted or otherwise tampered with, believing the qualities that make photography what it is should be respected and explored to the fullest. He acknowledges that this may seem a bit too precious for some and that it has perhaps led him to a point of being "more pure than the purest," but it is what makes his photography what it is. That is how he has worked the majority of his photographic career. "Photography is a way of seeing," he says. "After you've photographed for awhile you begin to pick a particular kind of light that you like. It becomes instinct after a while, pure and simple. Aesthetics are afterthoughts."

When he is making photographs, Quick assures us that he is not thinking about aesthetics but how the image he sees through his lens can be rendered. "You look at something, think that it might make a good picture," he says. "You set the camera up, focus and find that it really will make a good picture. So you push the button, go home and develop it. But then you don't like it for six months. You go back to it later and maybe it's all right." In short, Quick says, instinct matters more than theory.

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