If a subject has a delicate surface to it, you do not want to go charging in there. You need to establish some kind of presence and understanding. I will say, 'Try to forget I'm here. I won't ask you to pose, I won't ask you to do anything.' It's important that I just be allowed to be around, to be present. Photographing people requires a willingness to be rejected. So, I think the best approach is to be honest and direct. Very often, I tell them, "You don't know me. There's no reason why you should trust me...the only thing I can promise is that I'll try to do the most honest work I can. Ultimately, it comes down to somehow being able to instill confidence. I don't think you can bullshit your way into that, because a lot of these people can see through walls. If you want to photograph people, you'd better know something about them. [Allard often credits "Serendipity" for the success of his pictures.] I like to explore, to be sensitive to the rhythms of the moment. Exploration means seeking out what I think is there, and yet often finding something finer, something closer to the center, that no amount of research could have led me to. I tend to react more than direct. You have to be receptive [to your subject]. You have to care. You can't do good work if you don't care. That's not necessarily a strength, but it gives you strength.
There's no secret to people photography except intimacy. You can't establish rapport if you're hiding behind a tree and shooting with a long lens. Robert Capa talked about making stronger pictures by getting closer in a physical way, but it's very valid psychologically too. You have to project that you're trustworthy - in words, mannerisms, and voice.
I believe in the resonance and staying power of quiet photographs. The photos in this book were not hard to make. They required a certain seeing, but few special techniques, and no tricks. Something though was hard. It was hard being between photographs and not knowing when or how another image would reveal itself.
When you photograph, you're putting together a puzzle and there are an infinite number of ways to do that. Ultra wide-angle lenses can be difficult to use well because they add more pieces. You think you're getting everything in the frame, but is it all tied together? Does the primary subject relate to all the pieces around it? Is there a sense of balance and grace?