I do not use the word 'genius' lightly, but if David Bowie is not a genius, then there is no such thing.
My allegiance was always to the act. I wanted them to be happy. I wasn't owned by a magazine or a record label. And I was a very naughty boy to boot!
Somebody had given me a copy of 'Hunky Dory,' which had yet to be a hit, although it was starting to percolate. I'd seen a couple of pictures of David, with his interesting hairdo and outfits, and I decided to seek him out, which wasn't difficult back then, as he was eager to do any kind of publicity.
I'd photographed musicians before but this was different. Syd was very charismatic, and he had the aura of a poete maudit, which made him the perfect subject for me – I realised that rock n' rollers were the modern equivalent of all the poets I was so enamoured with.
People think: 'If this photographer's looking like a big jerk-off, maybe it's okay if I do.' I like to catch my subjects off balance a bit.
It's funny because unlike back in the seventies when I made hardly any money, today I could just live off the past if I wanted to. I have no interest in that.
Newspapers and magazines didn't want pictures of musicians behaving badly back then. Now, because of the Internet, that's all the media wants.
It's a miracle that David Bowie, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop are actually still alive today, given how hard they lived.
I did not want to be somebody who lived off his reputation. I wanted to continue to be part of the modern music scene.