Sebastiao Salgado and others have been accused of benefitting from the images of suffering. How do you feel about this and has anyone criticized your work in a similar fashion?


Of course, it has happened before and will happen again. That’s normal. But my conscience is completely clear. I think that I present my subjects in a very fair light, giving them the respect they deserve. Also, I’m not moralizing or preaching or pretending I’m saving the world. I’m just an observer taking pictures of what’s going on.

 

 


Giorgio Di Mitri called you the hardest working photographer out there, going out day after day after day to pursue your projects. Are you really out shooting everyday?


I live photography. Even when I’m not shooting, I’m always thinking about the next great shot. And my camera is always with me--even when I take the trash out I’ve got a point and shoot in my pocket. I also never take vacations from photography.

 

 

 


Family vs. street reality. How does it go? Now that you have a child and a wife, do you feel you will take less risks? Has something changed?


I don’t think I ever took too many risks; I was always pretty careful and I always listen to my gut instinct. Whenever I felt something was wrong, I would take off right away. There are no shots worth dying for. But of course, having a child has given my life new meaning, and has inspired me to work even more. The way I see the world has completely changed and I would say it changed for the better. I don’t need guns and needles to inspire me anymore. I see beauty all around, and it feels good.

 

 


How was your São Paulo experience? How was shooting in SP? Did you have
any local contacts? What were you expecting before and how did you find it
afterwards?


The dominant feeling in Sao Paulo was that something bad could happen at any moment. Walking around was pretty tiring because I had to watch my back all the time. It was guerrilla shooting, in a way. You quickly shoot, change locations, and shoot again. It’s a weird city with weird energy. Communication was a big problem because not too many people speak English.


I was there for a week and for three or four days, I hung out with some local people. That really helped. I had no idea what to expect. People were trying to scare the shit out of me with talk about kidnappings and robberies at gunpoint, but I was ok. It’s dangerous, but not really Baghdad, you know.