If it's a likeness, alone, it's not a success. If, through my portraits, you can come to know the subjects more meaningfully, if it synthesizes your feelings toward someone whose work has imprinted itself on your mind--if you see a photograph and say, 'Yes, this is the person,' with a little new insight--that is a beautiful experience.
When one sees the residuum of greatness before one's camera, one must recognize it in a flash. There is a brief moment when all that there is in a man's mind and soul and spirit may be reflected through his eyes, his hands, his attitude. This is the moment to record. This is the elusive "moment of truth".
Photography is, to me, more than a means of expression, more than my particular prefession – it is a way of life. And if I were asked to choose one word which holds the key to my work I would select ‘light’ – for light is my language, and it is international, readily understood by any person of any race. It has been my good fortune to welcome before my camera many great men and woman who have made their mark on our generation and will find a place in history. I feel that my life’s work is to interpret th the best of my ability, the inner strength, the true character, of these personalities, through the medium of photographic portraiture. I can think of no elation equal to that when something close to my ideal is achieved, through necessarily there must always be a spark of what I call ‘divine discontent’ – the constant striving for near-perfection. In this self-appointed task, which also carries, I believe, a great sense of responsibility, the medium of light is all important. It is the portraitist’s chief tool, and he can never learn enough about it.
The revelation, if it comes at all, will come in a small fraction of a second with an unconscious gesture, a gleam of the eye, a brief lifting of the mask that all humans wear to conceal their innermost selves from the world. In that fleeting interval of opportunity the photographer must act or lose his prize.