I wasn’t very ambitious. I think that’s the solution. I just took things as they came. I wouldn’t say I didn’t have any problem, but I didn’t care. I didn’t think I was going to save the world by doing photography as some of these people do. I was just having a good time doing it, and so I still had a good time no matter what I had to photograph.
One must be able to gain an understanding at short notice and close range of the beauties of character, intellect, and spirit so as to be able to draw out the best qualities and make them show in the outer aspect of the sitter. To do this one must not have a too pronounced notion of what constitutes beauty in the external and, above all, must not worship it. To worship beauty for its own sake is narrow, and one surely cannot derive from it that esthetic pleasure which comes from finding beauty in the commonest things.
Ansel [Adams] once said to somebody that I [Cunningham] was versatile, but what he really meant was that I jump around. I’m never satisfied staying in one spot very long, I couldn’t stay with the mountains and I couldn’t stay with the trees and I couldn’t stay with the rivers. But I can always stay with people, because they really are different.