For me, the fascination of portraiture is in the relationship between the photographer and the subject. For my work to be successful there must be a play among several elements: what is subconsciously there; what sitters do for the camera; what happens when I am with them and the unplanned things that happen. I take a lot of pictures and when I am shooting, I almost go into a trance. It all happens so fast that not until afterwards can I see whether all of the elements coalesce. It's like magic.
Is this fear of the inevitability of that final, drastic loneliness what instigated this obsessively frantic insistence to mark every living inch of life so as to not miss one detail? And with a stubbornness that I was born with, I demand that you take notice, and not look over, and never forget.
I know now that before I take a picture I have to be sure about how I feel about the subjects. What I don’t know is if I should explain to them what I’m doing while I’m photographing them...
Can you see the deaths, divorces, job losses or changes, disappointments, surprises, and successes on people's faces? Have they been happy, sad, disillusioned, or gratified? I have been trying the single, vertically shot portrait with my 8 x 10 since 1985 and never felt I succeeded in finding what I was looking for.
[My advice to a beginning photographer is] sit down with a pencil and paper and think about what your life is about. What you are about. Don’t even take a camera into your hands before you figure that out.
Does getting closer to the subject make the photograph more intimate? I’m sure it takes more than that. What comes next? The face, the nude? That’s what I'd love to do. Who would even let me do that?