by Richard Quinney
“And I have felt / A presence that disturbs me with the joy / Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime.”—William Wordsworth
A Sense Sublime is a record of a life lived during the last years of the twentieth century on the northern edge of the tallgrass prairies of Illinois where seas of flowing grasses give way to the glaciated hills of Wisconsin.
With camera in hand, Richard Quinney walked the streets and byways and traveled the country roads. Quinney watched the rising and passing of all things, giving attention to the wonder of daily existence. He portrays the transcendental landscape. The black and white photographs capture the light and darkness we know and experience in human existence.
Images of weathered homes and barns of long-gone settlers and shaded cemeteries haunt the landscape. Vistas of clouds majestically drifting over magnificent prairies instill an agrarian sublimity akin to Wordsworth or Thoreau. The photographs, from the end of a century, document the passing of the seasons and the years.
Quinney’s photographs are historical artifacts framed by the spiritual eye of the observer. The photos, accompanied with notes from Quinney’s journals, as well as the words of others, are extensions of the long tradition of transcendental writers, romantic poets, and landscape painters. They are Quinney’s own attempt to solve the mystery of human existence and a way to experience the sublime in everyday life. These were the years lived as a camera.
198 pp. 7 1/4 x 8 3/4 inches