6.17.2013

Postcards

I care deeply about the people I photograph, and more often than not, my relationships with them last a long time. I don't sleep with them, invite them home, or take them out dancing. Even though they tend to be good people, the folks around them are sometimes dangerous. And frankly, I don't need monsters following me through back alleys at night.

Human traffickers. Drug dealers. Gang members. To apply a pop culture phrase, Ain't nobody got time for that. I empathize with them. I'm not one of them.

That brings me to a point that's been on my mind for a few days: my photographs are NOT autobiographical (apart from the self-portraits). Of course, they show places I go, people I know, and things I care about. There's a lot of "me" in the pictures I make. But I'm not a bar-trawling, bohemian, Charles-Bukowski type, puking up gin and making art about it at the same time. I have never hit a woman. I've never passed out drunk on the sidewalk.  

My life is ascetic. I live in quiet hotel rooms, mostly, and never turn the television on. I sometimes ache on the inside the way the people in my photographs do, and if so, very good. That pain provokes empathy, which is a safer, more distant word for what Saint Paul called love. But again, I cannot feel what others feel and cannot live the way others live.

I just take pictures. I try to take them with my heart as much as with my eyes. I don't "hunt" for people to photograph the way some people do. More often than not, in fact, they find me.

I move through the world, like anyone else, meet the people I meet and do the things I do, and in the end, I send a few postcards home to all of you.