Norma Quintana said she’s always been a photographer. Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, she frequently documented family events or happenings.

“Pictures to me are like jewels of memory,” said Quintana. “I love images” — especially printed images.

“If you see it,” in print, “you connect with it.”

1. What was your childhood ambition?

My ambition was to earn a post graduate education, be financially independent and live an examined life.

2. How did you get into this business?

Fine art photography is my profession. I lecture, exhibit and sell in limited-edition my photographs.

I released my first art book, “Circus: A Traveling Life“ which was published by Damiani Editore out of Italy and distributed by D.A.P.

3. What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?

The challenge is for the public to know and understand that photography is an art form and a business that requires expertise, editing and a creative eye. Photography and creating images is a livelihood and a profession.

4. What’s a common question or misconception you get about your business or work?

A lot of people ask me if I do (family-style) portraits. What I would do is a fine art portrait using my film camera. I’m going to curate the image and deliver a fine art print.

5. What’s your favorite piece of photography equipment?

My Hasselblad. It’s my go-to camera. It’s a medium format camera — the negative is larger than 35 mm.

It’s very simple. I like that. Everything else is so complicated in life; I like to keep it as simple as possible.

6. What’s your advice to someone who wants to get into photography?

First, I highly recommend that people (whether using film or digital) take a photography 101 class that involves a darkroom. They have to understand the process.

Learn what photography is. You’ve got to go back to the roots. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Have the experience of photographing a lot. Then discover your passion.

7. You also collect cameras. How many do you have?

Oh, too many. At least 100 of them, from all over. People give me their cameras, from different eras, in different shapes. They are displayed on a big wall in my studio.

8. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?

I would like to work on a documentary feature film on the gift of life in the world of organ transplants. The focus of the documentary is to promote organ transplant awareness.

9. If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?

I would like to facilitate change in the way the public views the value of photography and those who create the images.

10. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

That I have a Master’s Degree in Juvenile Justice and that I worked in Silicon Valley prior to moving to Napa.

Quintana can be reached at