There’s a quality of legend about freaks. Like a person in a fairy tale who stops you and demands that you answer a riddle.
If I were just curious, it would be very hard to say to someone, “I want to come to your house and have you talk to me and tell me the story of your life.” I mean people are going to say, “You’re crazy.” Plus they’re going to keep mighty guarded. But the camera is a kind of license. A lot of people, they want to be paid that much attention and that’s a reasonable kind of attention to be paid.
I work from awkwardness. By that I mean I don’t like to arrange things. If I stand in front of something, instead of arranging it, I arrange myself.
Most people go through life dreading they’ll have a traumatic experience.
When you grow up your mother says, ‘Wear rubbers or you’ll catch cold.’ When you become an adult you discover that you have the right not to wear rubbers and to see if you catch cold or not.
Everybody has that thing where they need to look one way but they come out looking another way and that’s what people observe. You see someone on the street and essentially what you notice about them is the flaw. It’s just extraordinary that we should have been given these peculiarities. Something is ironic in the world and it has to do with the fact that what you intend never comes out like you intend it.
I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do—that was one of my favorite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse.
I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.
My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.
It gets to seem as if way back in the Garden of Eden after the Fall, Adam and Eve had begged the Lord to forgive them and He, in his boundless exasperation, had said, “All right, then. Stay. Stay in the Garden. Get civilized. Procreate. Muck it up.” And they did.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Henri Cartier-Bresson French Photographer
- Stephen Sondheim American Musician
- Andy Warhol American Painter
- Eudora Welty American Short Story Writer
- Stanley Kubrick American Film Director
- J. Robert Oppenheimer American Physicist
- Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) British Anglican Author
- William James American Philosopher
- Robert Thurman American Buddhist Scholar
- Harold Bloom American Literary Critic, Author