What I find interesting is working in a society with certain taboos – and fashion photography is about that kind of society. To have taboos, then to get around them – that is interesting.
I had found out that I did not function well in the studio, that my imagination needed the reality of the outdoors. I also realized that only as a fashion photographer could I create my kind of universe and take up my camera in the chic place and in what the locals called la zone, which were working-class districts, constrution sites, and so on. To work for French Vogue at that time was wonderful: Who else would have published these nudes or the crazy and sexually charged fashion photographs which I would submit to the editor in chief?
It was not until 1980 that I photographed what I consider to be my first nude. In quick succession I executed the Big Nudes, the Naked and Dressed, and, in Los Angeles, the Domestic Nudes series. The fact that the models in these photographs were the same girls I used in my fashion work gave them a certain elegance and coolness that I was looking for in my work.
Highly rewarding work, especially after I had abandoned photographing young Hollywood movie stars, invariably accompanied by their agents, who would act as censors during the actual sitting. To this question, "What people do you like to photograph?" my answer is "Those I love, those I admire, and those I hate."
In 1936 I arranged to have myself thrown out of school as a hopeless pupil. I wanted to be a paparazzo.
It’s quite true that what I am aiming at, even when I take portraits, is to get a scandalous picture. I would love to be a paparazzo.
My advice for the young? There are two dirty words in photography; one is “art,” and the other is “good taste.”
My third book 'Private Collection' was published to break a contract with a publisher. I decided I didn't want him, so I did a book with a very small circulation. Only 10,000 were printed. It broke the contract and the publisher.
...growing up, I was surrounded by Nazi imagery, like everybody in Germany, and for a boy obsessed with photography it left an indelible impression on me. Later this influence was tempered by Brassai nad Dr. Erich Salomon. My love of photography at night started with m early experience of [shooting in] the Brelin undergrund [subway] stations. Even today I love photographing by the light of street lamps or in the glare of my flash.
I always kept my equipment down to a minimum two cameras, each with three lenses, a flash that would clip onto the camera body, and one assistant. I did not want to spend time thinking about hardware; I wanted that time to concentrate on the girl and the world around her.
This was inspired by German police photographs of the Baader-Meinhof gang, which showed full-length identity shots of gang members as dsiplayed in the office of the German police Fahndungs Squad [Search Squad]. The Big Nudes became an ongoing series, ending in the year 1993. Also, this was one of the rare occasions on which I worked in a studio.
Since the commercialization and banality of editorial magazine pages have made this work uninteresting, advertising has become an increasingly important part of my work. It is intersting to compare European and American mores in regard to my work. One will notice that most of my European images have a stronger sexual content that those destined for American publication. The term 'political correctness' has always appalled me, reminding me of Orwell's 'thought police' and fascist regimes.
Some people's photography is an art. Not mine. Art is a dirty word in photography. All this fine art crap is killing it already.
The desire to discover, the desire to move, to capture the flavor, three concepts that describe the art of photography.
The point of my photography has always been to challenge myself, to go a little further than my Germanic discipline and Teutonic nature would traditionally permit me to.
The people in my pictures have been “arranged,” as on a stage. Nonetheless my pictures are not counterfeit; they reflect what I see in life with my own eyes.