I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I've lost.
A lot of people seem to think that art or photography is about the way things look, or the surface of things. That's not what it's about for me. It's really about relationships and feelings...it's really hard for me to do commercial work because people kind of want me to do a Nan Goldin. They don't understand that it's not about a style or a look or a setup. It's about emotional obsession and empathy.
There are too many photographers. Try to get involved with something that really matters. And unless you need art to survive, the don’t do it.
There is a misunderstanding that my work is about marginalized people. But we were never marginalized, because we were the world. We didn't care what straight people thought of us.
...anybody can take a picture. Now, you don’t even have to be a person, you can be a telephone. There were always too many pictures in the world and today there are billions of pictures.
My desire is to preserve the sense of people’s lives, to endow them with the strength and beauty I see in them. I want the people in my pictures to stare back.
I am not a voyeur, as voyeurs photograph through closed windows and with me the window is always wide open.
[The snapshot is] the form of photography that is most defined by love. People take them out of love, and they take them to remember—people, places, and times. They’re about creating a history by recording a history.
My work changes as I change. I feel an artist’s work has to change, otherwise you become a replication of yourself.
I knew from a very early age, that what I saw on tv had nothing to do with real life. So I wanted to make a record of real life. That included having a camera with me at all times.
I used to think I couldn't lose anyone if I photographed them enough. I used photography to stave off loss. But with the recent deaths of many of my friends I realized the limits of what can be preserved.
There is a popular notion that the photographer is by nature a voyeur, the last one to be invited to the party. But I'm not crashing; this is my party. This is my family, my friends.
For me it is not a detachment to take a picture. It’s a way of touching somebody—it’s a caress... I think that you can actually give people access to their own soul.
People in the pictures say my camera is as much a part of being with me as any other aspect of knowing me. It’s as if my hand were a camera.
The instance of photographing, instead of creating a distance, is a moment of clarity and emotional connection for me.
When you set up pictures you’re not at any risk. Reality involves chance and risk and diving for pearls.