Many of my photographs are difficult to make. Some can even be dangerous. I do not want to have someone else coming in harm’s way taking the risks I need to take: to lean out off a cliff or stay underwater for the sake of my picture. We control how much pain we can tolerate; such information is unknowable by anyone else. Some of my pictures might look simple, but in reality they can test the limits of what a human body is capable of or willing to risk. Thus I title them self-portraits, so the viewer knows who is in the picture and who took it. This means no manipulation of any kind, no double exposures or overlapping negatives. Fortunately I began decades before Photoshop was invented. What you see happening in the frame of my image happened inside the viewfinder of my camera. It’s a line I wrote as a copywriter in an advertising agency in New York working on a camera account: What Happens Inside Your Mind, Can Happen Inside A Camera. I believed in the concept strongly enough that I wanted to become a photographer myself.
As you leave the viewfinder, trust the camera to finish the job. I do not use an assistant to look through the camera; otherwise she or he also becomes the photographer. Instead, I have nine seconds to get into the scene, or if I am using a long cable release bulb, I can press it and throw it out of the picture, knowing nine seconds later the camera will fire.
Selected by Andrew