Most of my pictures are compassionate, gentle and personal. They tend to let the viewer see for himself. They tend not to preach. And they tend not to pose as art.
[W. Eugene Smith's photo essays] taught me that a photograph could not only communicate emotions, but could also serve the human condition.
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.
Taking photographs, taking candid photographs, means that the photographer is an invisible man. Whereas there is still a feeling that in having a photograph taken there is loss of face: something of the soul is gone.
I am not interested in showing my work to photographers any more, but to people outside the photo-clique. My pictures are not escapes from reality, but a contemplation of reality, so that I can experience life in a deeper way.
l am a photographer who uses various professional cameras and film formats to express the way I see and explore reality. Cameras become an extension of my vision and I need to love the thing. Each tool has its purpose and it is up to me to choose one to use for a particular photographic project.
I’ve had the privilege of being an outsider allowed on the inside, searching for beauty, meaning and myself.
I burn intensely, but with a slow flame, like an acetylene torch. What keeps you going is the passion that you have.
In those days , to be a photographer was actually to be a nonentity. My brother went to college, grad school, a PhD. I had this little camera.
I like discovery. I’m attracted to it. I like the feeling of going out, being at some place, looking in at something. Observation is important.
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.
All my photographs are portraits—self-portraits, because you can’t photograph someone without reflecting/echoing, like a bat sending out a signal that comes back to you. You get not only a picture of who you’re photographing, but you get a picture of yourself at the same time.
Most young boys have a buddy. I had a camera. I was pretty much a loner, and I was doomed to failure because I wasn’t interested in anything other than taking pictures and developing them in my darkroom.
I felt that my mission in life was to make visible what appears to be invisible and I do that as someone who is blind and comes into a world and suddenly begins to see.