[Photographer, b. 1928, Paris, France, lives in New York.]
It’s about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby.
After following the crowd for a while, I’d then go 180 degrees in the exact opposite direction. It always worked for me, but then again, I’m very lucky.
Making pictures is a very simple act. There is no great secret in photography... schools are a bunch of crap. You just need practice and application of what you’ve learned. My absolute conviction is that if you are working reasonably well the only important thing is to keep shooting... it doesn’t matter whether you are making money or not. Keep working, because as you go through the process of working things begin to happen.
Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times... I just shoot at what interests me at that moment.
Quality doesn’t mean deep blacks and whatever tonal range. That’s not quality, that’s a kind of quality. The pictures of Robert Frank might strike someone as being sloppy—the tone range isn’t right and things like that—but they’re far superior to the pictures of Ansel Adams with regard to quality, because the quality of Ansel Adams, if I may say so, is essentially the quality of a postcard. But the quality of Robert Frank is a quality that has something to do with what he’s doing, what his mind is. It’s not balancing out the sky to the sand and so forth. It’s got to do with intention.
It’s just seeing—at least the photography I care about. You either see or you don’t see. The rest is academic. Anyone can learn how to develop. It’s how you organize what you see into a picture.
I like dogs.... They’re sympathetic. They’re nice. They don’t ask for prints. (On why he so frequently photographs dogs.)
All the technique in the world doesn’t compensate for the inability to notice.