I’ve been a photographer since quite some time. I started taking pictures when I was 16, and I haven’t stopped. I decided that if I were going to be a photographer, I would have to go to New York, because that’s where the centre of everything was. While in New York I had the good fortune to show my pictures to Edward Steichen at the Museum of Modern Art, and to Robert Capa, who happened to be in town. And Robert Capa thought that I was promising enough to eventually take me into the newly formed Magnum organisation.
Most of my pictures are not set up. It all depends on how you define ‘setting up’. Is setting up waiting for the right moment, or is setting up directing people to do things for you? Well, maybe it’s a combination of both. I think setting up could also be waiting for something to happen, and putting yourself in the right position for catching it when it does, if it does.
I think London is a very picturesque city. In fact, I think I went to London more frequently than I went down town while living in New York. And as I always have my camera, and as London is a particularly picture-worthy place, I took a lot of pictures. Some of them are ending up at the Tate, which is very pleasant.
What is it about dogs? It’s everything about dogs. Dogs are wonderful people. They are charming, for the most part. I’ve always had a dog. And they don’t ask for prints.
I’m essentially a commercial photographer with a hobby, and the hobby is photography. So my hobby is generally in black and white, because there I’m working for myself, and I prefer it. The pictures that I take for my own amusement haven’t changed since I began more than 60 years ago. You can tell the difference sometimes because of clothing or automobiles in the background, but essentially I haven’t changed at all. I take fewer pictures than I used to. I don’t know if that’s wisdom or not.