[Photographer, b. 1913, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, d. 2011, London.]
I didn’t want to be a “woman photographer.” That would limit me. I wanted to be a photographer who was a woman, with all the world open to my camera.
What you need to be a good photographer is an overwhelming curiosity and a good digestion.
It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.
Themes recur again and again in my work. I have been poor and I wanted to document poverty; I had lost a child and I was obsessed with birth; I was interested in politics and I wanted to know how it affected our lives; I am a woman and I wanted to know about women.
The first time I met Joan Crawford she took off all her clothes, stood in front of me nude and insisted I photograph her... sadly, something happens to flesh after 50. (On the behavior of film star Joan Crawford, drunk and desperate to rebuild her career. Three months later, a resurgent Crawford wrote Arnold from the film set of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? in which she co-starred with Bette Davis: “You would have been so proud of me. I was a lady, not like that cunt, Bette Davis.”)
...if you think of modern art like sex in all its forms—heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, multipartnered, bestial, whatever, with absolutely no holds barred and with everything available and permissible—that would be “modern art.”
Being a woman is just a marvelous plus in photographing. Men like to be photographed by women, it becomes flirtatious and fun, and women feel less as if they’re expected to be in a relationship.
If the photographer is interested in the people in front of his lens, and if he is compassionate, it’s already a lot. The instrument is not the camera but the photographer.