[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.
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’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.
I was very shy, and it was a lot easier for me to communicate if I had a camera between me and other people.