Q: Is photography art to you?
BW: I never questioned if it was an art or not. I just questioned its importance to me, whether it was very important to me – my life-source, my source of living. I always had a great time with it. It brought me a lot of happiness, a lot of pain, and a lot of crazy times. I like that about it.
Bruce Weber Interview | The Talks
Q: Besides dreaming, what keeps you going?
BW: I try to have a big life. I visit different painters in their studios whose work I like. I maybe do stories on them or photograph them. Sometimes I take a trip. I have been doing a lot of trips around America recently. I’ve been going down south a lot, down in Mobile, I spent a lot of time in New Orleans.
Q: How come?
BW: I like the characters there. I like to meet people on the road. I have also always felt really close to words. I guess if I had to choose something that has really inspired me for my work, it is words and reading. It is weird for me to do this interview today, because I am usually behind the camera. I like to be where you are right now.
Q: How important is the sexual aspect in your body of work?
BW: I’ve always felt like love and affection were really important to me. I like it that people have a flirtation with life. I think that’s kind of important. I didn’t think my work was about sex so much as I thought it was about desire. Desire to be close to somebody, to be intimate. A lot of the time people comment on my pictures that they are too sexy or too sexual, but to me it’s just a photograph of a friend and they trusted me and I liked them. I wasn’t afraid to show myself, my feelings about people.
Q: Is that why you don’t put yourself into the spotlight, so you can live your live without having to hide?
BW: People know my name, not my look. The only reason why I am talking about myself now is because my work is very dear to me. I wouldn’t be sitting here right now otherwise. I like the fact that I can travel and go somewhere and nobody thinks of me as just a weird guy with a camera. I don’t like the idea that photographers are such personalities now. It is not so important for me. I’d rather let my work stand for me.
Q: Which is a different approach to some of your very famous colleagues who want be treated like movie stars…
BW: I don’t really think about what other photographers are doing. I do look at photographs in a way of appreciation. I love to have a lot of photographs around me, so I have a big collection. But I don’t reference how other people do pictures or how they live or where they stay.
Q: Which photographers are worth collecting to you?
BW: I have some really beautiful Diane Arbus photos, I have some Edward Weston photographs, a lot of nudes he did. I have a lot of Larry Clark pictures as well. I collected pictures ever since I had 20 bucks in my pocket. I had seen a photograph of Stravinsky that I loved by George Platt Lynes at the Sonnabend gallery. I had no money, but Mrs. Sonnabend really trusted me. I paid it off, it took me about six months, but I finally got it.
untitled, by pau l a aparicio [Paula Aparicio] on Flickr
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