William Albert Allard
[Photojournalist, b. 1937, Minneapolis, Minnesota, lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.]
I think the best pictures are often on the edges of any situation, I don’t find photographing the situation nearly as interesting as photographing the edges.
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.”
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.
All I need is my brains, my eyes and my personality, for better or for worse.
I think the 50 [mm lens] is an extremely good discipline lens; it requires you to see in a more refined way, not just tighter.
You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.
What is right? Simply put, it is any assignment in which the photographer has a significant spiritual stake... spiritually driven work constitutes the core of a photographer’s contribution to culture.
What’s really important is to simplify. The work of most photographers would be improved immensely if they could do one thing: get rid of the extraneous. If you strive for simplicity, you are more likely to reach the viewer.