I don’t need to know anything about the people I photograph, but it’s important that I recognize something about myself in them.
It’s like Diane Arbus said, you are looking for the “gap between intention and effect.” People think that they present themselves one way, but they cannot help but show something else as well. It’s impossible to have everything under control.
I felt that the beach portraits were all self-portraits. That moment of unease, that attempt to find a pose, it was all about me.
For me it is essential to understand that everyone is alone. Not in the sense of loneliness, but rather in the sense that no one can completely understand someone else. I know very well what Diane Arbus means when she says that one cannot crawl into someone else’s skin, but there is always an urge to do so anyway. I want to awaken definite sympathies for the person I have photographed.
I do think that my work has gotten calmer, and that the violence of some of the earlier series was necessary to reach the higher degree of concentration in the later ones.
A photograph works best when the formal aspects such as light, colour and composition, as well as the informal aspects like someone's gaze or gesture, come together. In my pictures I also look for a sense of stillness and serenity.
I am interested in the paradox between identity and uniformity, in the power and vulnerability of each individual and each group. It is in this paradox that I try to visualize by concentrating on poses, attitudes, gestures, and gazes.
I am looking for a kind of purity, something essential from human beings... I believe in a sort of magic.
For me, the importance of photography is that you can point to something, that you can let other people see things. Ultimately, it is a matter of the specialness of the ordinary.