It fascinates me that there is a variety of feeling about what I do. I’m not a premeditative photographer. I see a picture and I make it. If I had a chance, I’d be out shooting all the time. You don’t have to go looking for pictures. The material is generous. You go out and the pictures are staring at you.
The idea that the snapshot would be thought of as a cult or movement is very tiresome to me and, I’m sure, confusing to others. It’s a swell word I've always liked. It probably came about because it describes a basic fact of photography. In a snap, or small portion of time, all that the camera can consume in breadth and bite and light is rendered in astonishing detail: all the leaves on a tree, as well as the tree itself and all its surroundings.
I suspect it is for one’s self-interest that one looks at one’s surroundings and one’s self. This search is personally born and is indeed my reason and motive for making photographs. The camera is not merely a reflecting pool and the photographs are not exactly the mirror, mirror on the wall that speaks with a twisted tongue. Witness is borne and puzzles come together at the photographic moment which is very simple and complete. The mind-finger presses the release on the silly machine and it stops time and holds what its jaws can encompass and what the light will stain.
I only wanted Uncle Vernon standing by his own car (a Hudson) on a clear day, I got him and the car. Ialso got a bit of Aunt Mary’s laundry and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on the fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and 78 trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It’s a generous medium, photography.
That little tiny moment [in photography] is a beginning and an end and it has something to do with the same kind of mentality that an athlete has to use… The tricks that good tennis players use, especially what happens when the ball bounces and does odd things… You couldn’t predict what you’re what you’re going to do. Try to hit it back. Not only try to hit it back, try to hit it back in a weird way. Or in some articulate way. And I think photography is stuck with those same kinds of moments, especially if you’re not a studio photographer. You don’t have much control.