November 23, 1944
Lissa, Reichsgau Wartheland, Germany (Leszno, Poland)
|Residence||Paris, New York and Arles|
|Spouse(s)||Petra Sedlaczek (m. 2002)|
In the beginning of my twenties, I started transcendental meditation. For years, I did nothing else. Every holiday, I went to courses. Meditation is a real simple instrument. You don't need a long beard or a sari. It's meant to bring you to yourself. It's as easy as that.
Fashion photography should say something about the stability of a certain time you live in or what kind of women you like. The most interesting thing is not what they're wearing but who they are.
If photographers are responsible for creating or reflecting an image of women in society, then, I must say, there is only one way for the future, and this is to define women as strong and independent. This should be the responsibility of photographers today: to free women, and finally everyone, from the terror of youth and perfection.
The photographer, even in fashion and portraiture, has to have a standpoint. It's important to know what you stand for, no? Most people just take pictures, but they stand for nothing. They follow trends and don't know why.
I show elements of the set in my pictures because it's not real. When I see movies, I often love the 'making of' more than the movie itself. It's not so final. When you have a woman just standing there, it doesn't mean much.
A lot of mainstream photographers seem not to think about what they're doing or feel any responsibility toward anything. By the time they're done, the models don't have any trace of themselves left. This thing about looking young with no wrinkles or expression is all so boring, really.
My first obsession was actually sports. I was a very good handball goalkeeper. With special permission, I played in the premier league in Germany before I was even old enough.
For me, every photograph is a portrait; the clothes are just a vehicle for what I want to say. You're photographing a relationship with the person you're shooting; there's an exchange, and that's what that picture is.
The most important part of fashion photography, for me, is not the models; it's not the clothes. It's that you are responsible for defining what a woman today is. That, I think, is my job.
There's something else that makes a woman interesting, something beyond being young or being old. And I'm going to find out what that something else is before I die, I hope.
Heartless retouching should not be the chosen tool to represent women in the beginning of this century.
Photography gives you the opportunity to use your sensibility and everything you are to say something about and be part of the world around you. In this way, you might discover who you are, and with a little luck, you might discover something much larger than yourself.
People think that it is important to learn by assisting the great photographers. I say that is a big mistake. Be happy; just learn from any little guy. Learn how to use the camera – you don't need anything else. You can't be taught the real skill anyway.
To go somewhere where nobody knows you, and to keep your eyes open… That was a beautiful concept in terms of putting yourself in a place to be inspired.
These days, photographers have expensive contracts with actresses, but then the actresses have to have their names written in the column because nobody recognizes them. That's kind of strange.
I have not taken inspiration from the fashion shows. I don't even really go to too many of the fashion shows – and have not for 15 years – because I don't want to be inspired by the same things as everyone else. If everyone is inspired by the same things, then of course, you all do the same pictures.
Now there is this whole terror about getting old. Today, that fascination with youth is overrated. What's so special about being young? I just say that because I'm old.
You cannot say that one woman is 'more beautiful' than another, though people always do. It's so ridiculous to say that.