A virulent, aggressive minority has decided that Americans don’t know themselves what it is they should see, and need to be protected by people who are wiser than they are, even if they are only a tiny sliver of the population.
All my life I’ve taken photographs of people who are completely at peace being what they were in the situations I photographed them in.
Any artist that’s involved in their work is inevitably going to have a focus in what they do.
As soon as you forbid something, you make it extraordinarily appealing. You also bring shame in as a phenomenon.
Before, I’d photograph anything. I didn’t think there was anything more or less obscene about any part of the body.
But empirically I’ve come to understand that my photographs really don’t do any harm.
But the truth is that Homo sapiens is a sensual species. I think all species are, to one degree or another.
Different members of different cultures will think that some things are beautiful.
Every child is going to grow up. You can see it happen in the books: They get older and older and belong to themselves to a greater and greater extent.
I am fascinated by the human body and all its evolutions.
I became good at defending myself, but as far as I was concerned, that was a transient skill.
I didn’t think there was anything more or less obscene about any part of the body. Now, I recognize that there are certain postures and angles that make people see red, which are evidence of original sin or something, and I avoid that.
I don’t photograph any two people who are remotely the same.
I found myself serving a sentence of public denial from the very second the raid on my apartment happened.
I just yesterday returned from a trip where I photographed a woman with two children whom I photographed first when she was the age of the older of the two children.
I know the families that I photograph extremely well, and I’ve known them for a very long time.
I will always admit immediately to what’s obvious, which is that Homo sapiens is inherently erotic or inherently sensual from birth.
I’d rather get back to making art than talk about it.
I’m an artist that’s attracted to a specific way of seeing and a way of being.
I’m guilty of extraordinary naivete, I suppose. But it’s a naivete that I really don’t want to abandon, not even now.
I’m the last person who has any desire to instruct anybody in shame. That’s no errand for me.
I’ve had to relearn how I work with people so that if and when I do avoid different things I don’t send any messages in doing so.
If it gets to the Supreme Court, I’ll have the directors of every museum in the country as expert testimony that my work is legitimate art.
If somebody’s pointing a trembling finger at your pants and saying you shouldn’t be doing that, follow that finger back, go up the arm and look at the head that’s behind it, because there’s almost always something fairly woolly in there.
In fact, I don’t believe I’m guilty of any crimes, but I’ve always been drawn to and fascinated by physical, sexual and psychological change, and there’s an erotic aspect to that.
It’s no small irony that the government inevitably and invariably ends up promoting precisely that which they would most like to repress.
It’s really, really hard to make it as a fine-art photographer exclusively.
No two people take on the information of being admirable and being admired in the same way.
Now, I recognize that there are certain postures and angles that make people see red, which are evidence of original sin or something, and I avoid that. I don’t shoot that any more.
Physical beauty is such a strange thing.
Some of the people that I photographed as sticks became much more voluptuous, much rounder, in some cases dramatically so, and I think they’re even more beautiful.
That dichotomy between the public consumption of the work and my intent and practice in making it is an uneasy one for me, on occasion.
That’s my ambition: that you look at the pictures and realize what complex, fascinating, interesting people every single one of my subjects is.
The images I like best are parts of series that I’ve started, in some cases, with the pregnancies of the mothers of the children in question, and I continue that series right on through the birth of children to the child that resulted from that first pregnancy.
The kids really enjoy what they do. I check with them constantly to make sure that they’re really happy to be there.
The transactions between me and the people that I photograph are very, very collaborative.
The truth is that from birth on we are, to one extent or another, a fairly sensual species.
The world is shrinking as we see more and more of it in the media, and the more we see of the world, the smaller we are, the more aware we are of how insignificant any one of us is.
There are photographs that I don’t take now that I previously would have taken without any thought at all as to any misinterpretations.
There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t like being caressed.
There’s no particular evidence that any of the lower mammals or any of the other animals have any interest in aesthetics at all. But Homo sapiens does, always has and always will.
They were without clothes before I got there, and they were without clothes when I left.
Virtually always I get my best pictures when everybody thinks the shoot’s done.
We live in an age where anonymity is growing in magnitude like a bomb going off.
What I’m good at is making art.
What pedophiles and people who have sexual desires on children lose sight of to a terrible, terrible degree – a devastating degree – is that their victims are real people who will suffer forever whatever abuses are perpetrated on them.
When I started doing my work years ago, I had doubts as to whether the informed-consent question was answerable.