These days it seems that physical "truth" can easily be rearranged, rethought, or re-created outright. Any image can be made pristine, all the warts can be removed.
But returning to the source of a thing–the real source–means the photographer has to watch, dig, listen for voices, sniff the smells, and have many doubts.
My life in photography has been lived as a skeptic.
For me photography had an immediacy . . . I was trying to resolve certain issues. What was fair or unfair about how people lived, and how they had to live? I thought the most penetrating and most immediate way to get to some of those questions was through photography.
It was the strength of memory and history–the traditional culture–that had sustained the Ojibway in their deep, ongoing struggle for survival, a struggle that was etched in the faces of young and old during the trying period of the 1950s.
I photographed in clinics and institutions first in the 1960s and then again in 1975, and was compelled by the remarkable strength of the people I saw... This extraordinary inner strength can be seen both in their faces and in their gestures. I believe that the extent to which a society cares for all its people is a gauge of humanity–or lack of it.