The whole thrust in my life right now is spinning my assignments around and making them work in a more personal way (...) I wanted to go back and do the original thing: one camera, one lens, one film. You really have to put yourself in a position of danger to be creative.
You must have something to “say”. You must be brutally honest with yourself about this. Think about history , politics, science, literature, music, film, and anthropology. What affects does one discipline have over another? What makes “man” tick? Today , with everyone being able to easily make technically perfect photographs with a cell phone, you need to be an “author”. It is all about authorship, authorship and authorship. Many young photographers come to me and tell me their motivation for being a photographer is to “travel the world” or to “make a name” for themselves. Wrong answers in my opinion. Those are collateral incidentals or perhaps even the disadvantages of being a photographer. Without having tangible ideas , thoughts, feelings, and something almost “literary” to contribute to “the discussion”, today’s photographer will become lost in the sea of mediocrity. Photography is now clearly a language. As with any language, knowing how to spell and write a gramatically correct “sentence” is , of course, necessary. But, more importantly, today’s emerging photographers now must be “visual wordsmiths” with either a clear didactic or an esoteric imperitive. Be a poet, not a technical “writer”. Perhaps more simply put, find a heartfelt personal project. Give yourself the “assignment” you might dream someone would give you. Please remember, you and only you will control your destiny. Believe it, know it, say it.
I don't look like a professional and that gives me greater access. When sitting with a group on a porch, I can shoot with one hand while drinking coffee and they barely realize I'm working. I also like loose street photography. I try to be unobtrusive, scrunching down to reduce my physical size, getting in close to people. The Leica equipment is part of that technique.
I've chosen a style that involves simplicity, direct contact with people and the texture of the location; this doesn't call for long enses.
[Special pictures] are the pictures that ask questions and maybe there isn't an answer; or the pictures where you can go back later and see something you hadn't noticed before.