saw an ex-president of the Magnum photography agency talk at a question and answer session today.

he switched from film to digital when the technology was good enough. he switched from black and white to color because the magazines he worked for started printing in color. his style came naturally over time by taking lots of pictures and choosing the best ones. he shot his most famous picture by driving by and going “click, click click”; it’s just one of dozens he shot that day, and somebody else had to point out to him that it was special. he switched from photography to video for a while because the girl he liked was a filmmaker (they are still together). he doesn’t have any strong feelings about technology or trends, saying “do whatever you want”; what he does is just carry a camera around with him, and take pictures when he sees something that he thinks would make a good one. he takes them because he likes them, and because they help him remember moments and tell stories.

everyone raising their hand and asking a question was looking for a bold statement, something that could be quoted or remembered as a mantra, but at every turn he refused. he described the moments that led up to his most famous pictures without flair or glamour. he spoke with the calmness and austerity of someone who has nothing to prove, that knows his pictures speak for themselves. he was extremely inspiring.