[Photographer, b. 1906, Riga, Latvia, d. 1979, New York.]
No photographer should be blamed when, instead of capturing reality, he tries to show things he has seen only in his imagination. Photography is the youngest art form. All attempts to enlarge its frontiers are important and should be encouraged.
I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for money.
Every face I see seems to hide and sometimes, fleetingly, to reveal the mystery of another human being… Capturing this revelation became the goal and passion of my life.
Herein lies the main objective of portraiture and also its main difficulty. The photographer probes for the innermost. The lens sees only the surface... .
This fascination with the human face has never left me... Every face I see seems to hide and sometimes, fleetingly, to reveal the mystery of another human being... Capturing this revelation became the goal and passion of my life.
[Revealing character] can’t be done by pushing the person into position or arranging his head at a certain angle. It must be accomplished by provoking the victim, amusing him with jokes, lulling him with silence, or asking impertinent questions which his best friend would be afraid to voice.
In a jump the subject, in a sudden burst of energy, overcomes gravity. He cannot simultaneously control his expressions, his facial and his limb muscles. The mask falls. The real self becomes visible. One only has to snap it with the camera.
Of all the beautiful women I have photographed, I recall Marilyn Monroe most vividly. Her great talent was an ability to convey her “availability.” I remember there were three men in the room… Each of us had the thought that if the others would only leave the room that something would happen between Marilyn and himself.