The University of Wisconsin Press

Photography / New York


Once Upon an Island
Photographs of Manhattan, 19691970
Richard Quinney

Photographs of life in Manhattan in the late 1960s

As the decade of the 1960s drew to a close, Richard Quinney walked the streets of Manhattan with camera in hand, documenting the life of the city. For forty years, as he relocated from one place to another, the photographs he had taken in Manhattan went with him. After the events of September 11, 2001, the photographic images acquired a meaning and significance beyond anything he could have imagined. Once Upon an Island contains 175 photographs of Manhattan, including color photographs of the construction of the World Trade Center and black-and-white images that capture the experience of living on the island at the end of the 1960s. Like all photographs, these offer a stark reminder of the impermanence of all things; and yet at the same time, as artifacts they create an enduring record of a different time and place.

Richard Quinney is author of several books that combine autobiographical writing and photography, including Where Yet the Sweet Birds Sing, Field Notes, and A Lifetime Burning. A retrospective of his forty years of photographing is contained in his book Things Once Seen. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.


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The cover of Once Upon an Island features a photo of a couple looking at the skyline of Manhattan.

March 2011
LC: 2010923196
210 pp.   6 1/2 x 9
108 color photos, 67 b/w photos

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Cloth $35.00 t
ISBN 978-0-9815620-6-3
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"Eventually I would move back to the Midwest to be near the farm. But what I had found on the island would never leave me. These photographs are reminders of my life and the lives of others, once lived on the island."
—Richard Quinney, excerpt from Once Upon an Island



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Updated September 5, 2011

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