[Photographer, b. 1934, Aberdeen, Washington, lives in New York.]
The world makes up my pictures, not me.
I suspect it is for one’s self-interest that one looks at one’s surroundings and one’s self. This search is personally born and is indeed my reason and motive for making photographs. The camera is not merely a reflecting pool and the photographs are not exactly the mirror, mirror on the wall that speaks with a twisted tongue. Witness is borne and puzzles come together at the photographic moment which is very simple and complete. The mind-finger presses the release on the silly machine and it stops time and holds what its jaws can encompass and what the light will stain.
With a camera like that [a Leica 35mm rangefinder] you don’t believe you’re in the masterpiece business. It’s enough to be able to peck at the world.
I only wanted Uncle Vern standing by his new car (a Hudson) on a clear day. I got him and the car. I also got a bit of Aunt Mary’s laundry and Beau Jack, the dog, peeing on a fence, and a row of potted tuberous begonias on the porch and seventy-eight trees and a million pebbles in the driveway and more. It’s a generous medium, photography.
I always wanted to be a photographer. I was fascinated with the materials. But I never dreamed I would be having this much fun. I imagined something much less elusive, much more mundane.
[Garry Winogrand] was a bull of a man and the world his china shop.
I’m not a premeditative photographer. I see a picture and I make it. If I had a chance, I’d be out shooting all the time. You don’t have to go looking for pictures. The material is generous. You go out and the pictures are staring at you.
When I choose the negatives to print, I do it partially by whim: I let my eye do the thinking. There is something elusive out there and what you are doing is trying to get it on film.