By nature, I’m a street photographer with a 20-year background as a photojournalist. When I pick up a camera, regardless of the milieu, W. Eugene Smith and Mary Ellen Mark are with me. Yet Diane Arbus and Hiroyuki Nakada are riding shotgun sometimes, too. I’m interested in depicting life without contrivance - as much as possible. I have no interest in showing people in an unfavorable light - just natural light.
All photographs are as much a self-portrait of the photographer as any “selfie” purports to achieve. Over the years I have had a good run at documenting rodeo cowboys in Montana, bikers in Oklahoma, Native Americans in New Mexico, ladyboys in Bangkok and streetwalkers in Manila. If I had a chance to document life in an insane asylum - like Mary Ellen Mark did, or depict the Saks Fifth Avenue crowd in Manhattan, I would.
In most cases, I relate to the subjects I photograph - or rather that my camera seems to choose. I seldom relate enough to cross the line like Arbus and became part of that world, but I don’t feel like ignoring what’s often right in front of me … anymore than ignoring the reality of Twain’s Huck Finn as an American high school English teacher. Certain inconvenient truths must be confronted. To avert our attention from the unpleasant side of life isn’t going to address the issue of why we are the cruelest animal on the planet.
Yet something is profoundly out of sync, since Manhattan in New York City is no different than Madrid and Paris. The number of homeless men in this world is both staggering and heartbreaking - and a great many are from capitalist societies were the distribution of wealth is the most offensive obscenity.