When you start out, you’re not really aware. I didn’t have a sense of photographic history.
What I particularly liked was that, coming from California and not being involved in the New York scene, I developed my personal way, in my own way, at my own pace.
Well, I liked it – that was the main thing. I liked it, but I didn’t think of it in terms of a career. I didn’t really know; I didn’t really think about it. One thing just led to another until finally I quit my job as a salesman and found myself working as a photographer.
The education, the cultural awareness, is different in Europe, especially in France, from that in the United States. So I think the public will be much more appreciative of many images.
That’s why I felt so at home when I went to Africa. It didn’t matter that I was halfway around the world in a foreign country, because all those elements are universal. And I think that’s one thing about my work: It’s universal.
Regardless of whether you speak the language or are familiar with a culture, the picture should hold up.
I was an economics major, which I enjoyed because I had a good business sense.
Generally, the French highly promote culture and the arts, and photography is in their blood.
Actually, when I first started dabbling in photography, I was still working for my parents as a salesman.
Once you develop your own style, you know when you’re able to give your best. Feeling at home is part of it, and I don’t think that’s an L.A. thing. It’s a matter of the environment and of what affects you.
I think knowing people by first names, not by what they do sexually, is really what it’s about. Not being afraid. Fear is the enemy. I’ve always been comfortable with being gay.
For me, the most important thing I learned was just honing my eye. I think I had a good eye.
Within two hours of where I live, you have mountains and desert as location. I like the natural elements that abstract into light, texture, shape and shadow.
I’m pretty selective. I generally edit the contact sheets and then do work prints. Because I have my own lab and printers, I can afford the luxury of going through the contact sheets for black-and-white, making up work prints, seeing them big, and honing them down.
Even though I didn’t get a business degree, I enjoyed learning about economics.