[Photographer, b. 1947, Lovisice, Czechoslovakia, lives in New York.]
I was repelled by the sleazy reality of the totalitarian countries: politicians were shameless. There were corruption, pollution, shoddy goods, long lines, and suicide everywhere, but the leaders kept boasting about their great achievements and bright tomorrows. I saw all this and tried to show it in my pictures as simply and straightforwardly as I could. All I wanted to do was record how all these poor people adapted to lies and suffering, how they got used to it, how, in fact they were bound to miss it when it was over.
Stalin said artists are the engineers of human souls. I wanted to show what happens to the soul when the engineers get through with it.