[Photographer, b. 1883, Portland, d. 1976, San Francisco.]
I never divide photographers into creative and uncreative, I just call them photographers. Who is creative? How do you know who is creative or not?
I was invited to photograph Hollywood. They asked me what I would like to photograph. I said, Ugly men.
So many people dislike themselves so thoroughly that they never see any reproduction of themselves that suits. None of us is born with the right face. It’s a tough job being a portrait photographer.
The formula for doing a good job in photography is to think like a poet.
You know, a documentary is only interesting once in a while. If you look at a whole book of Dorothea [Lange]’s where she has row after row of people bending over and digging out carrots—that can be very tedious. And so it’s only once in a while that something happens that is worth doing.
I just believe in working. I’m not one of those romantic explainers of my own individual point of view.
Ansel once said to somebody that I was versatile, but what he really meant was that I jump around. I’m never satisfied staying in one spot very long. I couldn't stay with the mountains and I couldn’t stay with the trees and I couldn’t stay with the rivers. But I can always stay with people, because they really are different.
I wasn’t very ambitious. I think that’s the solution. I just took things as they came. I wouldn’t say I didn’t have any problem, but I didn’t care. I didn’t think I was going to save the world by doing photography as some of these people do. I was just having a good time doing it, and so I still had a good time no matter what I had to photograph.