I always try to help people with their photography when they ask; it's the instinct of having been a teacher, I guess. But there is less still film photography and more digital and video as time goes on, and I can't help people with those.
The most important aspect of photography for me is its potential to be like any other visual art, or art in general, including music. That is, it can open your mind, extend your range of experience, make you see things in the world and experience things in new ways. I have a certain feeling when I walk out of a good exhibit at SFMOMA, that I can now see the beauty and significance of ordinary things that I passed over before. I want my pictures to make people aware of the amazing things that are going on in front of them at shows, that they might have missed, not thought of. Beauty is universal, but is also in the eye of the beholder. I think the subjects in my pictures have beauty, but of course it is beauty on my terms. Someone said I make all my subjects look like movie stars, which I would not have thought, but I see the point. A good picture transcends, it travels beyond the ordinary, but the materials are ordinary, and right there in front of us every weekend night.
Further, still photography is a time machine, or more properly, a memory machine. It fixes things in time so we can contemplate and appreciate them. In doing so, we hold off time for a while. But alas, time always wins. And finally, photography is a refuge and a satisfaction. For all the pain and heartbreak in the world, art will always be there. It is not a substitute for real connection; it is connection. There are other things we all need, but art will give us a safe harbor when we need it.
My current goal is to put out a few books of my major bodies of work, and I think I'm getting close to being able to do that. The last few years I've had the divorce, had my mother die and my father decline and go into a nursing home, and now I'm working on a remodel of the building that houses my darkroom, a remodel that seems to be dragging on and on. But if my health holds up, I'll put out some books of some kind even if I have to pay to have them published myself.
I've often thought it would be funny to be "discovered". Like, what if tech millionaires in Silicone Valley decided it would be cool to have retro b&w pictures of punks at play on the walls of their office buildings and homes? Hilarious.
But really, just doing it, and having people not only let me do it, but encourage me, has been enough so far.