How do you approach your subjects? One would think a lot
of the people you photograph do not wish to have their picture
There is no recipe for that. I guess it must have something
to do with my personality. I think the important thing is
that I try not to judge my subjects, and I think they can
feel that. It’s probably why they trust me. Also,
the gang and drug project came to me by accident—I
never planned it. I don’t think you can plan projects
like that. You would be surprised how many times people
would ask me to take their pictures while shooting up or
showing off their guns. I think many of these people are
aware that they won’t be around for long, and it’s
a way for them to be remembered.
Do you stay in touch with your subjects (after photographing
them)? Do you give them prints/copies?
Sometimes I stay in touch. Again, there are no rules. I
usually don’t give prints to my subjects, but I gave
some of the gang members my book, It’s All Good, when
it came out, and they loved it.
What motivates you to photograph? What inspires you?
I do it because I have to do it, or else I would die. I
just follow my heart. What inspires me changes all the time.
Right now, I’m inspired by normal everyday life. I
take a lot of photos of birds and dogs, trees, shadows…
But it’s evolving all the time, and that’s the
beauty of it.
social skills more important than technique?
I think both things are equally important, at least
for the type of photography that I do, which is documentary.