303 East Chapel Hill Street
Durham, NC 27701 • (919)687-0250

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Jim McQuaid

"Escher Factory" © 1975, 2019 Jim McQuaid

Meet the Artist
Friday, June 21, 2019 from 6:00 - 9:00 pm  


Opening June 21st, Through This Lens Gallery in Durham will present photographs by local filmmaker Jim McQuaid.

Created in the 1970s, McQuaid’s subject is the factories and expressways of Detroit. He was given access to Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge complex where he photographed for days. The work celebrates the beauty and the monumentality of industrial forms in a world where individual humans are missing or insignificant.

Unusual in this digital age, all prints in this show are original silver prints made from 4x5 and 5x7 film negatives. For most images no more than five prints were ever made. The materials used to photograph (Versapan, D-25 developer) and to print (Agfa Brovira paper, Beers developer) these images have either vanished or require a kind of effort that simply will not happenagain. Curiously these photographs, made in a medium once famous for possibleendless replication, are objectively rare, near one-of-a-kind objects.There pristine quality testifies to the longevity of the properly handled silver print.

Some of Jim McQuaid’s thoughts about this work:

“At the time, just being in the darkroomwas enough, watching a ghost under the enlarger swim through a tactile, wet process and emergeinto the light.”

“Automobiles are creatures that weigh one or two tons, measuring ten to twenty feet and moving ponderously along smooth surfaces. These are the creatures that expressways have been formed for; these are the creatures that comeout of the factories. People are the means to this end.”

“While digital prints can be beautiful and technology continues to advance, I am still smitten by the ability of photographic paper, carefully handled, to produce the densest of blacks and the feather of an almost-white gray. And equally impressed with the ability of that process to produce images which look as good today as they did decades ago at their birth, a task most inks cannot undertake.”

McQuaid’s work in recent years has been as filmmaker and cinematographer. More about that at:

Free and open to the public
Regular Hours: 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM Tuesday - Friday
Saturdays 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday & Monday by appointment
Third Fridays open until 9 PM

© 2019 Through This Lens, Inc
303 E. Chapel Hill Street
Durham, NC 27701
919.687.0250 -

this page updated June 18, 2019