I have been beset with a sense of urgency to record those parts of our heritage which seem to be receding as quickly as the view from the rear of a speeding train. I fear that we are eradicating the evidence of our past accomplishments so quickly that in time we may well lose the sense of who we are.
It seems I have made a career of being one step ahead of the wrecking ball. I have been beset with a sense of urgency to record those parts of our heritage which seem to be receding as quickly as the view from the rear of a speeding train. I fear that we are eradicating the evidence of our past accomplishments so quickly that in time we may well lose the sense of who we are.
A steel mill! There's nothing more photographable than a steel mill. There's nothing more terrifying than being in a steel mill. If you've been in a steel mill; you know what hell is like! Absolutely terrifying! And yet, at the same time, these men who work there are intensely proud ... These people are heroic. The locomotive engineer, the farmer who is out pitting himself against the weather and against the goddamn bugs and everything else all the time - to me they're much more interesting than the guy making the money sitting behind a desk.
These shapes, these oil refineries and steel mills are on a scale almost as vast as the Grand Canyon. These are awesome creations, symbolic of the energy of this country, symbolic of the kinds of things we do best.
... the air was smokey, a hopeful sign there for it meant that times were good, there were jobs.
Since the beginning, Americans have raced toward the horizon: building, rebuilding, and discarding. All across America we have left abandoned, like carcasses after the feast, that which only yesterday was state-of-the-art invention.
Every time I go to one of these places it's as if no one else has ever been there to photograph it. I really don't give a damn whether anybody was there ten minutes before ... I want to discover it and work with it and explore it myself.
There is always the feeling that something is gone.
I think I know less about photography than I do the things I photograph. I suppose I'd like to feel that I'm a historian.
I feel somehow or other that it's a mission ... that it has nothing whatsoever to do with my own being, but that it's something quite apart from me. Somehow or other, I happen to have this - whatever the hell you want to call it - talent or gift or obsession or fanaticism or madness or whatever to go out and do this. I am absolutely consumed with the sense that it has to be done; that time is running out.
I'm a heretic. ... Well, I guess that photography is not a holy cow.
These towns are like postage stamps. They're just pasted down on the land.
I remember once in a dining car, the steward had all the shades pulled down, and we were going across Kansas or Oklahoma, someplace along there. And I pulled up the shade - I was almost the only person in the car - and the fellow came by again and pulled the shade down. He said, "There's nothing to see out there, son." I was outraged. But I think so many people feel that way about this part of the country - that it isn't worth looking at.
Oh, I love this evening light. You feel the