"The trust between photographer and subject that developed over that time is evident. Quintana took her time learning the lineage of these circus families. She presents them not as freaks or compulsives, but as workers in a private, insular, now almost-extinct world."
– Mona Simpson, author of Anywhere but Here. Excerpt from Circus: A Traveling Life introduction
"Norma I. Quintana’s Circus: A Traveling Life wonderfully balances artifice with truth. In her portraits, no matter how much glitter, makeup and pose these performers present her with, Norma reaches down into the heart, muscle and humanity of her subjects. Her revealing photographs only add to the magic of the circus."
– Linda Connor, San Francisco Art Institute professor of photography
"Norma Quintana is an old friend of mine. It’s no surprise to me to see, in these portraits, a level of familiarity and even intimacy with the performing artists. She is an incredibly warm, generous, caring individual and this comes through in her photographs. A portrait photographer must understand and put her subject at ease. That is Norma’s true talent."
-- Michael Ash, Photography Agent, New York City
"Norma takes off where my heroes Bruce Davidson, Diane Arbus and Mary Ellen Mark left off--she clearly enjoys the same level of trust and intimacy as they did. Beautiful pictures."
-- Sally Mann, "Best American Photographer" 2001, TIME Magazine.
“Evocative, arresting, intimate, sublime—there is no shortage of adjectives to describe the unique beauty of Quintana’s Circus: A Traveling Life. These images tenderly reveal both the magic and humanity of lives lived inside and beyond the rare glow of the center ring’s spotlight.”
-- Chandra Prasad, author of The Death of A Circus and On Borrowed Wings
"Photographer Norma I. Quintana loves people and nowhere is this more evident than in her book Circus: A Traveling Life. Her empathetic portraits mixed with intimate moments indicate that Quintana has the ability to ‘be’ with people and not pose and contort them into her own narrative. She allows her subjects to reveal parts of themselves to the viewer as she employs her creative eye and obvious understanding of who they are as people and not as exotic subjects for ‘her’ work. This position is where these images surpass the thousands of others that have gone before. In the end, she has produced a testimony to a ‘true collaboration between subject and photographer,’ as she writes in her afterward.”
– Judy Walgren, San Francisco Chronicle Director of Photography and member of 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winning team of journalists at the Morning News
All images are copyrighted © Norma I. Quintana. The use of any image from this site is prohibited without prior written permission from the artist.