My desire is to preserve the sense of people’s lives, to endow them with the strength and beauty I see in them. I want the people in my pictures to stare back.
I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost.
A lot of people seem to think that art or photography is about the way things look, or the surface of things. That’s not what it’s about for me. It’s really about relationships and feelings…it’s really hard for me to do commercial work because people kind of want me to do a Nan Goldin. They don’t understand that it’s not about a style or a look or a setup. It’s about emotional obsession and empathy.
Yes, photography saved my life. Every time I go through something scary, traumatic, I survive by taking pictures.
I always thought if I photographed anyone or anything enough, I would never lose the person, I would never lose the memory, I would never lose the place. But the pictures show me how much I’ve lost.
For me it is not a detachment to take a picture. It’s a way of touching somebody – it’s a caress… I think that you can actually give people access to their own soul.
My work has been about making a record of my life that no one can revise. I photograph myself in times of trouble or change in order to find the ground to stand on in the change. I was coming out of a melancholic phase. This was taken when I was traveling extensively, on the road from hotel to hotel. You get displaced, and then taking self-portraits becomes a way of hanging on to yourself.
I knew from a very early age, that what I saw on tv had nothing to do with real life. So I wanted to make a record of real life. That included having a camera with me at all times.
My work is mostly about memory. It is very important to me that everybody that I have been close to in my life I make photographs of them.
I think the wrong things are kept private
The camera is as much a part of my everyday life as talking or eating or sex.
My work shows the beauty in so many different kinds of people because I never photograph anyone who I don’t think is beautiful. I never take an intentionally mean picture.
I just get inspired to take a picture by the beauty and vulnerability of my friends.
If I want to take a picture, I take it no matter what.
I usually work really instinctively and it’s afterwards that I think about what it means. I don’t know consciously that I have these themes that run through my work.
The thing that drives me most crazy in the world is not to be believed.
I’m very influenced by a lot of things, but my chief influence is my friends and what I see and what I feel and my own experiences and memory.
There are ways of angling the camera. I don’t just use a tripod. The only time I did that was in ’88 when I first came out of detox, I spent every day doing self-portraits to fit back into my own skin. I didn’t know what the world looked like – what I looked like – so in order to fit back into myself, I took self-portraits everyday to give myself courage and to fit the pieces back together. I used a tripod then.
It’s so rare to see a woman’s sexuality, real female sexuality, either in the shows or in the clothes.
The idea that a fashion photograph could make you cry doesn’t happen. And I’m proud to say that my slideshows can make people cry.
Yes, I need to be fed but the need to be loved by friends has been as important to me than any lover I’ve had all my life. This is part of the reasons that my lovers don’t stay because they are jealous of how much I care about my friends.
I don’t even like photography at all. I’m just doing photography until I can do something better.
The complete disregard for the camera’s presence indicates its complete saturation in their lives. The subject neither notices nor seems to care that someone has been invited into their private moment.
If I say something honestly, generally, I am being completely honest and don’t tell me I am lying. It drives me crazy to be told I set up my pictures. How does it benefit me to lie? I guess they are afraid to believe it and are afraid to look at it.
You know it’s said that you make your own face. So you don’t really have a face until you are 30 or your mid-20s. When you are starting to grow up and show your character in your face.