[Artist, b. 1936, Kastoria, Greece, lives in New York.]
I was my own Peeping Tom. Because of the absence of people I could do anything, and if it wasn’t good I could destroy it without damaging myself in the presence of others. In that sense I was my own clay. I formulated myself, I mated with myself, and I gave birth to myself. And my real self was the product—the polaroids.
You don’t have to say that nature is aware of your existence, that God knows you are here and you are suffering or having joy. The camera gives you proof that you have lived at least once.
If an artist does not have an erotic involvement with everything that he sees, he may as well give up. To be a human being may a very messy thing, but to be an artist is something else entirely, because art is religion, art is sex, art is society. Art is everything.
At any rate, when I began photographing myself, I could place myself in poses that had not been investigated by other artists. It was an area other artists hadn't touched. Then, I went on from there. I manipulated my image—distorting it, brutalizing it. People thought I was mad, but I felt I had to tell these things. It gave me a kind of excitement.
Photography is the best way to depict the idea that you existed. You don’t have to say that nature is aware of your existence, that God knows you are here. The camera gives you proof that you have lived at least once.
The selfie era offers a big opening: everybody can do it; nowadays even five-year-olds know how to take a nude self-portrait.
I am my own investigation territory.
I have wanted to photographically explore my body for years and I was going to have a professional photographer do it. But I have never been able to work well with others, and I was not going to go to a photography school and learn photography. Polaroid came in handy.