It never seemed important to me that my photos be published. It’s important that I take them. There were periods where I didn’t have money, and I would imagine that someone would come to me and say: “Here is money, you can go do your photography, but you must not show it.” I would have accepted right away. On the other hand, if someone had come to me saying: “Here is money to do your photography, but after your death it must be destroyed,” I would have refused.
[My] photographs are proof of what happened. When I go to Russia, sometimes I meet ex-soldiers… They say: “We came to liberate you….” I say: “Listen, I think it was quite different. I saw people being killed.” They say: No. We never… no shooting. No. No.” So I can show them my Prague 1968 photographs and say: “Listen, these are my pictures. I was there.” And they have to believe me.
If I couldn’t shoot lots of photos, I would not be the photographer that I am. Still, the cost of film has often been a problem. At times, to save money, I had to work with remainders of movie-film, and even to buy film that was stolen. But when I have only three rolls of film left in my bag, I panic.
Personally, I have had the good fortune of always being able to do what I wanted, never working for others. Maybe it is a silly principle, but the idea that no one can buy me is important for me. I refuse assignments, even for projects that I have decided to do anyhow. It is somewhat the same with my books. When my first book, the one on the gypsies, was published, it was hard for me to accept the idea that I could no longer choose the people to whom I would show my photos, that any one could buy them.