The most beautiful of all photographs are those taken of savages in their natural surroundings. The savage is always confronting death, and he confronts the lens in exactly the same manner. He does not ham it up, nor is he indifferent. He always poses; he faces up to the camera. His achievement is to transform this technical operation into a face-to-face confrontation with death.
This is what makes these pictures such powerful and intense photographic objects. As soon as the lens fails to capture this pose, this provocative obscenity of the object facing death, as soon as the subject begins to collude with the lens, and the photographer too becomes subjective, the 'great game' of photography is over. Exoticism is dead. Today it is very hard indeed to find a subject - or even an object - that does not collude with the camera lens.
The only trick here, generally speaking, is to be ignorant of how one's subjects live. This gives them a certain aura of mystery, a savagery, which the successful picture captures. It also captures a gleam of ingenuity, of fatality, in their faces, betraying the fact that they do not know who they are or how they live. A glow of impotence and awe that is completely lacking in our tribes of worldly, devious, fashion-conscious and self-regarding people, always well-versed in the subject of themselves - and hence devoid of all mystery. For such people the camera is merciless.