It is strange that people in finance have emotions that effect our money. Nurses don't gag when they sew up our wounds. Maybe nurses should run the banks. I like that they close the markets in Russia when things get too bad. Get some fresh air. It sounds so crazy to hear that Wall Street dived because the mood was alittle off, someone was a little disappointed, some company did not perform exactly as predicted. Cry. Baby.
What about those of us whose work is feeling for a living? All of us emotional artists. We have to be so professional to get work that demands we feel the most human, the most vulnerable - playing both the outsider and the insider at the same time. Our job is to feel and see and think and deliver. I got a call to photograph a young woman with three little kids who has terminal cancer. The art director before she even discussed the shooting gave me an out. I wanted in. What a privilege to meet this woman and make her feel completely alive for the time I am with her. What an honor to take the pictures her children will have forever. In a couple of hours, when this stormy night ends, I will load into a van with my crew. We will drive south for several hours, then be invited to share in the most intimate story. My job is to both allow the family to show their love and share it with the world in a way that is both completely emotional and totally commercial. The process for me is a journey to that place in myself where love lives. That is the only way I know how to photograph. The commercial part is the sharing. That is the letting go.
My neighbor Maggie is a well-known film director. Her work is mostly period pieces created entirely from research and imagination. No stumbling upon a great 19th century community still intact in the mountains. She looked at alot of my work last week and said one thing that made me feel so happy. She said that joy poured out of every single image she saw. The thing I loved so much about that, is many of the images she saw were not bubbly, happy pictures. It is true, I work out of a place of great joy. When I am making my videos and taking my pictures I tap into this feeling I have had since I was very little and try to recreate that place. In that way the images while not being about me, are my creations. My take on the world. Most of the people I have photographed will talk about that. That is my gift. To my subjects and to you.
I spoke to a couple of classes at Columbia High School yesterday. I love just showing up and being allowed to share ideas. What I wanted to talk about was from a Violent Femmes song where Gordan wails, "EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING EVERYTHING!" The Femmes are alittle too old for them to know. So I just told them my whole career is built on an itch I cannot quite ever reach to scratch. Everyday I try to reach down and rub the place that itches, but never quite get to it. I have only been working at this 30 or 40 years until I was told by a doctor in Toronto last summer that I will never get rid of this itch. That is ok. I like reaching.
After 45 minutes of looking at pictures I asked the class if they had any questions. The first person I called on asked, "can we see some more pictures?"