Like doctors, photographers work with what is present. I suspect our chief emotions are anticipation, frustration, and patience, balanced by a marvelous sense of elation when things go right--when we think we've captured within a photograph some missing feeling, some sense of beauty, or bit of mystery in the fabric of life.
When I teach a class I often give the assignment: "Photograph someone you love." I ask people to do this so they have a subject about whom they have feelings, a subject that is more than a model, or an object, or a shape, or an idea. In this way, they can judge the result not only by its technical success, but also by how well it describes their feelings.
The fact is that the camera is literal if anything, which gives it something in common with a thermometer...Often the tension that exists between the pictorial content of a photograph and its record of reality is the picture's true beauty. There is sleight of hand in photography...you make the viewer think he's seeing everything while at the same time you make him realize he's not. I try to make my pictures seem reasonable and then, at the last minute, pull the rug from beneath the viewer's feet, very gently so there's a little thrill.
In my head I think, "There is a beautiful picture here and by God, short of murder, I'm going to get it. So shut up and hold still!" But what I say is: "You look wonderful. It'll just take a minute. It's marvelous. We're doing something very special." When people see you are bored, they start to do things. Boredom is not necessarily boring. I am agreeable. I don't project my personality on the subject, because I don't want only to photograph his reaction to me. But at he same time, I have to draw him out. Lead him. Sweep the ice and make him follow the path I've brushed. What usually interest me is having a chance to look at someone and pick out what's interesting at that moment. People can't stay self-conscious long in front of the camera. Real people get bored. Boredom in a subject can be a photographer's ally. When I bore you, you stop trying to impress me. You begin to be yourself, and I may want that to happen. The style is not something I can impose on a subject. I merely look for a point from which the camera can most vividly record the illusion of depth and from there I try to organize the picture(still keeping the background as important as the foreground) so objects in the photograph also relate to each other through the play of their abstract shapes on the surface of the print.