Photography, alone of the arts, seems perfected to serve the desire humans have for a moment – this very moment – to stay.
My father taught me photography. It was his hobby, and we had a small darkroom in the fruit cellar of our basement. It was the kind of makeshift darkroom that was only dark at night.
In almost every photograph I have ever made, there is something I would do to complete it. I take that to be the spirit hole or the deliberate mistake that’s in a Navajo rug to not be godlike, but to be human.
I was known as a 35-mm photographer with a view-camera mentality.
There isn’t an aspect of book creation I don’t enjoy, and there has always been a book in my life to dream about or work on.
My best work is often almost unconscious and occurs ahead of my ability to understand it.
When I first went to ‘National Geographic,’ I thought I was the least qualified person to step through the doors. But because of my parents and the culture of continual learning they imposed on us, I later came to believe I was the most qualified person who ever worked there.
There are a lot of ways to be expressive in life, but I wasn’t good at some of them. Music, for instance. I was a distinct failure with the cello. Eventually, my parents sold the cello and bought a vacuum cleaner. The sound in our home improved.
Life rarely presents fully finished photographs. An image evolves, often from a single strand of visual interest – a distant horizon, a moment of light, a held expression.
I think of myself as a writer who photographs. Images, for me, can be considered poems, short stories or essays. And I’ve always thought the best place for my photographs was inside books of my own creation.