Richard Avedon on The Importance of Tapping Your Fears

“To be an artist, you have to nurture the things that most people discard. You have to keep them alive in order to tap them. It’s been important to me my whole life not to let go of any of the things that most people would throw in the ashcan. I have to be in touch with my fragility, with the man in me, and the woman in me, the child in me, the grandfather in me … all of these things have to be kept alive. I think I photograph what I’m afraid of … things I couldn’t deal with without the camera – my father’s death, madness, when I was young, women I didn’t understand. It gave me a sort of control over those situations that was legitimate because good work was being done. And by photographing what I was afraid of, or what I was interested in, I explored and learned and laid the ghost. It got out of my system and onto the page.”