Do you think your subjects relax more because you’re a woman ?
I just always think of myself as a photographer. I never separated those things. I never thought, well, I’m a woman and that’s why I’m getting these images as opposed to other images, if that’s what you’re asking. Are you saying that there’s a woman’s point of view in my pictures ?
Well, yes, I am suggesting that about your point of view. But I’m also thinking about what happens to an individual psychologically when he or she is in front of the camera. One of the most obvious things to grab onto in that complex experience is the person who is taking your picture.
I think that in the beginning, particularly, when I was younger, I didn’t seem threatening, and that was useful. I like to think that I let the subject be whoever they want to be, and maybe the fact that I’m a woman makes that process easier. I don’t know. Perhaps I empathize with the subjects more than a male photographer might, and so when I direct a sitting ideas may come more often from the people I’m photographing. For example, with the Sting picture, people ask, “How did you get Sting to undress ?”. Well, I didn’t. We were in the desert, out in the middle of nowhere; it was very hot and stark. And he said he wanted to take his clothes off. It felt very natural to him.