I haven't been put down or made to feel out of place, or made to feel in danger, for many years. It did happen a few times back in the '90s. A kid called me grand-dad at Gilman once. I was threatened a few times, and some of those times I just turned and walked away. I have nothing to prove. And there was a point where various friends made it known around that if anyone gave me trouble, they would have to immediately deal with people like Jerry Donahue (singer for ZBS), or Smiley; these are not guys you want to fuck with. They and many others always have my back, I think. Lately people see me at parties where everyone is 50 years younger, and if they don't know me they might give a look like WTF?, but then they try to act cool like it's nothing, especially when they see me talking to their friends. I think just because I look like I know what I'm doing, I never get negative vibes any more.
As far as pushing the limits to get a shot, I think that if anything I've been too cautious over the years. Like one time at the Slaughterhouse, I was talking to some people in the hall, and down at the end were two teenagers on the floor having sex. And I said there is no way I am going down there to take a shot. But maybe I should have. And many times I've not been able to get myself to shoot if the person was clearly in great emotional distress. But some of my best shots are of exactly that. I'm saying as I get older I'm thinking I should take more risks. What's the worst that can happen? However, I do always show the camera and that I'm about to shoot. If the person is negative about it, I back off and leave the area.
My divorce was recently final, so what Carol thinks of it all is no longer important. But she does talk about it in the documentary about me that was done by film student Lindsey Waters. Carol once told me she thought that the pictures were my way of thumbing my nose at the world, and at her, a way of saying fuck you. She had a point. As far as Lyle goes, I think that he appreciated the fact that the non-judgmental attitude I had toward the punks also extended to him in many ways. He probably resented the time I spent on my project instead of with him, but I think he's worked through that, because he and I are getting along just great these days.
Equipment. Early on I settled on Canon auto-focus film cameras. I have one body that always has a 24-85 zoom, and another that always has a 17-35 zoom. My prime lenses collect dust. I'm so used to these two cameras that they have become extensions of my hands and eyes. I hardly have to think about them, and that is the way it should be. Get to know your equipment, and then forget it, just use it. Equipment is just using tools; the hard thing is finding your vision and then following it to its natural conclusion. For a long time I didn't "get" the art and potential of photography, and I can see that some people never "get" it. I believe you have to look at the work of great photographers and keep an open mind. You have to understand what causes shapes and faces in a spacial field to have impact, and you have to stay aware of the great existential questions in the most mundane situations. Then you can start doing work that transcends