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Nyssa photographer’s work to be featured in international exhibition

Bob Quick poses with Mary Ann, his wife of nearly 54 years, in one of the two photo setups in the couple’s Nyssa studio for their photography business, Quick’s Foto Designs. (The Enterprise/Carolyn Agrimis)

NYSSA – Robert Quick hadn’t entered a photo contest since 1991 but after recently submitting photos to a competition, his work soon will be shown in an international exhibition. 

The Nyssa photographer’s work will be featured early next year after being selected this summer. Quick, who runs Quick’s Foto Designs, titled the photo “In His Own World.” The photo of Noland Chamberlain came during a shoot for the boy’s family at their farm in Vale earlier this year.

“The impact and the story of the little boy is so strong,” said Quick of the photograph. “It’s one of those rare moments.” In the photo, Chamberlain is crouched next to an old tractor, his gaze is out of the frame and he is seemingly lost in a world of thought.

“We were talking and I was adjusting my lights and everything and all of a sudden, I turned around and I’m going ‘That’s magical’,” said Quick of the moment the picture was taken.

“I was just intrigued by the whole thing. I think the emotion of that made it timeless,” said Quick.

Capturing such moments is one of Quick’s specialties, something that he has worked to perfect in his years spent working as a professional photographer. He didn’t aim to be a photographer.

“It was in law enforcement that I got introduced to photography,” said Quick.He began as a Vale police officer in the 1960s before he studied criminology at the University of Oregon and went on to become a detective for the Eugene Police Department in 1969.

There, he started taking pictures at crime scenes and also did underwater photography as part of his work on the search and rescue team. Quick said that he and his wife Mary Ann, who he married in 1965, turned to photography after he realized that he didn’t want to stay in law enforcement.

They started off doing underwater photography, leading tours around the world, which Quick described as a “great lifestyle.”

Quick and his wife opened a photo studio in Salem. To refine his skills, he studied at Linfield College, earning a master’s degree photography in 1990.

Shortly afterward, the two moved to the Seattle area where they had a photography studio that Mary Ann managed. Quick traveled the U.S. and Canada to teach photography techniques to professionals. Quick was a spokesperson for Fuji and Kodak, one of their “selected masters from around the U.S.” 

In those days, photography was much different than it is now in the digital age, according to Quick.

“The cameras have become good enough that some people are confused. They think they’re photographers,” he said.

 “If I sit down at a player piano and I wore a tuxedo and I sat there and turned the switch on and music came out, am I a pianist? I think that’s where the camera has taken us now,” Quick said.

For Quick, taking a good photo is about more than pressing a button.

“I like to tell the story of love,” said Quick.

In 2005, Quick and his wife moved to Nyssa for health reasons. They converted an old brick building on their property just outside of downtown into a studio. He said that he wants his pictures to transport people to how they felt in a moment when it was taken.

“We are all a thousand people in one,” said Quick. “A good portraitist has to spend enough time talking with you to so that I don’t make the mistake of photographing the one person that I see.”

To achieve this, Quick consults clients to determine what “look” they are going for with their pictures and how that can best be achieved. From there, Quick and his wife work as a team to create what he believes is the most important element for a photograph: impact.

“That’s the thing that I really think creates a photograph is impact – something that takes you somewhere,” he said.

That what was so special for him about the moment he captured of the little boy.

“The impact and the story of the little boy is so strong – it’s one of those rare moments,” he said.

The photo of Noland will be on display in Atlanta next January, sharing the limelight with from photographers from all over the world.

Reporter Carolyn Agrimis: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.