I'm just interested in people on the edges. I feel an affinity for people who haven't had the best breaks in society. I'm always on their side. I find them more human, maybe. What I want to do more than anything is acknowledge their existence.
I've always been interested in photographing traditions and customs - especially in America. The prom is an American tradition, a rite of passage that has always been one of the most important rituals of American youth. It is a day in our lives that we never forget - a day full of hopes and dreams for our future.
I knew from the first moment I picked up a camera, on my first school assignment, what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was going to find a way to travel the world and tell the stories of the people I met through photographs.
Sometimes I work on film sets. I've done this for 40 years. I always wanted to photograph on the set of an Ingmar Bergman film. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity.
I think photography is closest to writing, not painting. It's closest to writing because you are using this machine to convey an idea. The image shouldn't need a caption; it should already convey an idea.
I love to photograph people in their own environment. It offers clues to what's important in their lives.
I'm not against digital photography. It's great for newspapers. And there are photographers doing great work digitally. When they use Photoshop as a darkroom tool, that's fine, too. But at this point of my life, after so many years, I don't really want to change, and I still love film.
I always think, 'What does this picture mean? What's the best place to put my camera? Do I have anything extra in the picture, things in the background that will distract? Am I in the basic position that will give the essential things for this picture but not too much?'
Usually my ideas for work have revolved around my interest in people, especially people that live on the edges of society.
I'm not much for cats. I'm terrified of mice. I've worked a lot with elephants, and they are extremely intelligent and sensitive, and thankfully, they seem to like me. You never want to get on the bad side of an elephant. And never trust a chimp.
I saw that my camera gave me a sense of connection with others that I never had before. It allowed me to enter lives, satisfying a curiosity that was always there but that was never explored before.
I could spend my whole life photographing circuses. They combine everything I'm interested in - they're ironic, poetic, and corny at the same time. There's also something about a circus that's magical, sentimental, and almost tragic, like a Fellini film.
I'm most interested in finding the strangeness and irony in reality. That's my forte.
I've always been fascinated by twins. In my forty years of photographing, whenever there was an opportunity, I would take a picture of twins. I found the notion that two people could appear to look exactly alike very compelling.
It's good that everyone has an opportunity to take pictures, the chance to be a photographer. Some are good, too. But the bad thing is that it's very, very difficult to take a great picture. Everyone can take a good picture - even a child - but it's hard to make a great one.
I respect newspapers, but the reality is that magazine 'photojournalism' is finished. They want illustrations, Photoshopped pictures of movie stars.
When I started out, it was considered very wrong to change an image. There were scandals if someone inserted a sky into a war picture or something. Now it's all about that.
I'm just interested in what makes a photograph.
The obsessions we have are pretty much the same our whole lives. Mine are people, the human condition, life.
One of my all-time favorite photographers is Irving Penn. I wish I could have watched him work.