Dennis Hopper
[Actor, artist, and photographer, b. 1936, Dodge City, Kansas, d. 2010, Venice, California.]

 “Art” is a bad word in Hollywood. You use “art” too many times and they show you the elevator and then your name is taken off the parking lot. 
 [After Easy Rider] I couldn’t get another movie, so I lived in Mexico City for a couple of years. I lived in Paris for a couple of years. I didn’t take any photographs, and then I went to Japan and saw a Nikon used. I bought it, and I just started, like an alcoholic. I shot 300 rolls of film. That was the beginning of me starting again... 
 I think of [my photographs] as “found” paintings because I don’t crop them, I don’t manipulate them or anything. So they’re like “found” objects to me. 
 ... I’m sort of a nervous person with the camera, so I will just shoot arbitrarily until I can focus and compose something, and then I make a shot. So generally, in [the] proof sheets, there are only three or four really concentrated efforts to take a photograph. It’s not like a professional kind of person who sets it up so every photograph looks really cool. 
 You know, the history of California art doesn’t start until about 1961, and that’s when these photographs start. I mean, we have no history out here. 
 I was very shy, and it was a lot easier for me to communicate if I had a camera between me and other people.