Bruce Weber on the Intimacy of Portraiture

born readyAs Bruce Weber releases a new installment of his ‘All-American’ photo anthology and a box set of his films, he reflects on the intimacy of taking pictures.

It’s a dying art, to be a character in the world today. People won’t let you into their apartment if they think you’re a character — something might happen. It scares them. But because of my camera, I’ve been able to bounce around, meeting wonderfully strange people. I’m not interested in some girl or guy who’s really good-looking but doesn’t have a story. It can be a simple story, mind you — a desire to graduate college, or to make the football team. I feel really lucky to have photographed a lot of athletes at extraordinary times in their lives. They write me sometimes and say, “I saw this photograph that you did of me, where I’m nude, and I just think it’s so beautiful. I showed my kids and they said, ‘Why don’t you just put it up on the wall?’” Their kids can’t believe their parents ever looked like that. I always wonder if the pictures I take will be folded into a wallet, looked at only when the person is alone. It’s such an intimate thing, taking a photograph. My camera lets me flirt with life.

Intimacy of Photography (NY Times Magazine)

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