The desert... may serve better as the backdrop for the problematic relationship between man and the environment. The human struggle, the successes... both noble and foolish, are readily apparent in the desert. Symbols and relationships seem to arise that stand for the human condition itself.
The principal thing is the question of how our culture views age: that old is ugly Just think of Rodin, how he dealt with people of all ages. I have the feeling that I'm alive, I have a body I can make it extremely interesting. That keeps me alive and vital. It's a kind of process of energizing myself by my belief that the classical tradition of art that we've inherited from the Greeks is a load of bullshit.
I think there is an element of magic in photography - light, chemistry, precious metals - a certain alchemy. You can wield a camera like a magic wand almost. Murmur the right words and you can conjure up proof of a dream. I believe in wonder. I look for it in my life every day; I find it in the most ordinary things.
You know, a documentary is only interesting once in a while. If you look at a whole book of Dorothea [Lange]'s where she has row after row of people bending over and digging out carrots - that can be very tedious. And so it's only once in a while that something happens that is worth doing.
The older I get, the one thing I can trust in myself more than anything else is the way I feel about something. When I photograph I try to be as aware of my feelings as I can be to somehow try and get them out of me and onto the film in terms of the way I am responding or seeing the world.
In my work, the information is the least important part. It's there, and the work wouldn't mean the same thing without it, but it isn't structured around the information. The most interesting part to me is the visual play... looking at this little universe of representation that I can make out of the world.
Since 1873, I have been back four or five times. I have used the best cameras and the most sensitive emulsions on the market. I have snapped my shutter, morning, noon and afternoon. I have never come close to matching those first plates. (On photographing The Mountain of the Holy Cross)