Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Duncan QUote

I love the world, but I like it on my own terms. During the time I was making those first photos (before World War II), I bought a Ford 1934 Turing car, the dream wagon for $400. I traveled through every state of the Union, all the provinces of Canada, across southern Canada, selling prints to magazines, shooting other photos for about three dollars a shot.

I'd sleep in the car at night and use drained oil from the crankcase of other automobiles that drove across the country. Milk was about nine cents a quart. I'd go to the baker's and get a second day-old cinnamon role. It was fantastic.

That car and I covered the whole western part of America, and part of Canada, and Mexico, for nothing. Free as a bird, you could camp anyplace, anyplace. In a cornfield, out in a forest, in the orange groves of California, which are all suburbs now. Nobody lifted a finger except to welcome you or offer you a shower.
Now you're afraid to put your head out at night.

That's the kind of world I grew up in, and that's the kind of world I hope kids will inherit.

I had one, still have one basic principle. I never once photographed the face of a dead trooper, either American or Japanese or Korean or Vietnamese - never. I covered a lot of stuff other than just World War II: Korea, and Viet Nam. If you're on the battlefield as a civilian, you can walk away. They can't. They're stuck. They're in uniform. And it's not my privilege to photograph you if you've been shot. You have no defense against me.

I want to give a full picture of what's happened. But if it doesn't violate their privacy --that's number one. To hell with the photograph.

In many places, I was considered a bit odd, eccentric, because I didn't run. I walked. If I run I might run straight into it, if I slow down I might catch it this way. I do it on my own terms, so I slowed down and walked around and did these things and I've been very lucky. A couple little scratches but that's like a bumper job.

It's what I enjoy doing. Why does a bird sing? They sing, you know. It's very simple. I'm not doing it to satisfy you, that's for sure, I'm doing it to satisfy me. I do what I want to do to the best that I can do it.

No comments: