It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter, because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the ordinary.
My fashion pictures are documents just as much as my boat people or my pictures for Band-Aid of Sudan.
The first half of the 20th century belongs to Picasso and the second half is about photography. They said digital would kill photography because everyone can do it but they said that about the box brownie in 1885 when it came out. It makes photography interesting because everyone thinks they can take a picture.
When I was on trips I used to put Polaroid’s in a container with sea water, sand and pebbles. I’d swirl it all around to get scratches. It’s this random element that I call ‘the drip’. It’s the drip which might splash onto the other side of the canvas when you’re working on a painting and make you think ‘that is good’, possibly leading you to explore other things. My whole life is spent in search of the drip; it can change everything.
If you try to get famous you won’t, but if you don’t care you probably will. You've got to stick to your guns, too, because once you back down you’re finished.
They’re photographs of cocks and vaginas. They’re kind of medical, done absolutely close-up with no pretensions to lighting or anything. I just thought it’s something everybody’s got but you never see them in photographs. And, you’d be surprised at the personality of them; you can’t believe that every one is different.
Actors are the most difficult because you never know who you’re photographing. They could be Hamlet or Lassie.
For me, simplicity is the ultimate aim, combined with the perfect accident. All creativity is an accident. That's why I prefer film cameras. Digital takes away the accident. If you do that, you take away the creativity. All those pictures on digital cameras are all perfect. And they're perfectly boring!
I spend much more time talking than photographing. For me, talking is part of taking the picture. I'm always amazed when photographers come to my studio and photograph me and hardly say anything. All they say is, "Smile," and I say "No, if you want me to smile it's up to you to make me smile. I'm not a bloody actor."
I never cared for fashion much, amusing little seams and witty little pleats: it was the girls I liked.
Anyone interested in birds, as I am, is likely to come round sooner rather than later, to their challenge as nature made them.
I never considered myself a fashion photographer. I've never really been interested in fashion. The reason I did fashion was that I liked what was in the frocks.
All pictures are unnatural. All pictures are sad because they're about dead people. Paintings you don’t think of in a special time or with a specific event. With photos I always think I’m looking at something dead.
I wouldn’t photograph anybody if they only give you five minutes. I don’t care who it is. I don’t care if God phoned me up and said, “I want a picture, I’ve only got five minutes.” I’d say, “Well, work some of your magic and make it longer!” Even though I’m actually quicker than most and I usually get bored before they get bored.
I often use a white background because it doesn't interfere with anything. I aim for a timeless look, one that doesn't date. I always think that if something looks old-fashioned, it wasn't any good in the first place.