So I have done what I wanted to do, I have seen everything, misery, celebrity, the beautiful people, the wicked ones, generosity and hatred. But I think I have gone beyond my vision.... In the heart of my own life, in the heart of other people's lives. Perhaps that is the most important thing I have done.
She ran up to her room and came down with this huge book of photographs called The Decisive Moment, a collection of images by Cartier-Bresson, and we sat together looking through all of the amazing photographs. I had never seen anything like it. She said to me, “I really love this photographer.” So, I said to myself, “If I could take pictures like this guy maybe she will love me too.” So, I went out and spent all my monthly allowance on a used Leica. I actually tried to imitate the imagery of Cartier-Bresson. Of course, it didn’t work. The young female student ran off with a history professor, and I was left with Cartier-Bresson. That’s what started me off. I began to take street photographs.
They all [other photographers] gave us clues to their inner world. Kertesz let us see our mortality in a piece of crusted rock and a man's flesh; Avedon made us confront his anger in the black man's pores and crystal-clear eyes; Arbus broke through the desperate pain of her aloneness into the cruel world of the midget's taboo.