Quinn Saine fell into abstract photography by accident.

The Peru native was shooting the Napa coastline, as he often does, searching for the perfect photo of the ocean as the sun sets. He found the hour-and-a-half drive to the beach would often lead to gray, dreary weather or all his shots “would just be duds.”

Bored with the way his photos looked, he felt like he was taking photos that other people were doing “way better.” He swapped out a landscape lens for a zoom lens, but his settings weren’t right. He expected a blurry, throwaway photo.

“It just created this whoosh, this left to right, beautiful photo,” he said. “I thought, ‘This is kinda cool.’”

On his hour-and-a-half drive home, he played celebratory music. He was “jazzed” and excited to get home and develop the shot.

The result was an image that almost looks Photoshopped, but it was just the motion of the image, Quinn Saine said. The settings were a very small aperture — “like putting sunglasses over the camera lens” — and a long shutter speed, which lets more light in the image.

Quinn Saine didn’t realize at the time that this style of photography was called Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) photography. ICM photography is achieved by tinkering with the camera settings and intentionally moving the camera while shooting.

That accidental photo taken in December 2018 inspired the photographer’s style created thereof. Now, as his sister, Karlie Saine, said, his pictures hang on people’s walls.

“I just kind of went nuts,” he said.

Originally, Quinn Saine said he hoped to get into advertisement photography, setting his sights for companies such as Billabong. But once he discovered ICM photography, he started to use hashtags to build a presence on Instagram.

His new, in his words, “obsession” led to his photos being published on the inaugural issue of an ICM magazine. His art also lead to a partnership with a CBD company doing branding and photography for their products.

And now, he’s had an exhibition through Yountville Arts in their community gallery, and an installation at Heron House, a boutique tasting room, both in Yountville, California.

“It was pretty cool to be recognized by a legit ICM photographer,” he said.

Karlie Saine said her brother has always been artsy, winning art awards in middle school and bringing home unique projects. Their parents, she said, encouraged them to be well-rounded.

There was no TV in the Saine household growing up, as the parents urged their kids to take on creative endeavors such as reading, creating or playing sports. From early on, Quinn Saine had an interest in photography. He recalled hours pouring over his father’s National Geographic magazines.

“I remember always looking, not reading, at these incredible images from all over the world,” he said.

With all his accolades, the 33-year-old photographer didn’t categorize himself as “legit” yet, but he’s “working on it.” Full time, Quinn Saine is a tennis instructor, a line of work that led to him coaching the sport in resorts around the world. Eventually, it led to him living in Maui for a time.

As he traveled, he started taking more and more photos, usually at the urging of his mother to see the sights. He learned the tricks of the trade from a friend in Hawaii, trying out shoots for weddings and events, a mentorship he thinks of fondly.

To Karlie Saine, 36, her brother is legit. And his success is not at all surprising. She said she always anticipated he would do excellent things because he’s always excelled.

She said it’s more than just being a proud older sister, even though she is that. His natural talent and work to hone his skills has her convinced that he’s “going to be big time.”

“He is just someone I’ve always believed in, obviously,” she said. “But even when was taking pictures in his early days, or just of us, he’s always had that eye. He’s capturing that moment, creating an experience for people. I always knew that would be a part of him.”

The siblings described each other as best friends. They connect in some way, whether it be a text, meme or a phone call, every day.

Quinn Saine said he expected one day he’d move to Indianapolis, where his two sisters live, because nowhere else felt like home. But then he moved to Napa. He fell into a friend group, met an older couple he referred to as his “Napa parents” and put down roots.

“It just really felt like home,” he said. “When I got to Napa, I found my home. I’ve been really fortunate to meet such wonderful people here.”

Now the photographer said he’s found a place of contentment, and he doesn’t mind battling the unpredictable weather for the few-minute window to find that perfect image as the sun disappears beyond the sea.

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