They didn’t let anyone take away their freedom! So, we didn’t call anything an infringement on freedom; we called it an opportunity! We were never afraid to say anything without fear of some person saying that they weren’t allowed to say something without fear of being accused of infringing upon the freedoms of others. We had no reason and no obligation to try to convince anyone to stop infringing. It wasn’t an obligation that we had. We had a strong independence and self-respect that we were proud of. This independence also helped us to express ourselves in many different ways. Many of us started to write for magazines in our teens, many of us were writing for political organizations at that time, and many of us were starting our lives as photographers. The most popular picture we took in the summer of 1940, at the age of 16 or 17, was this picture of the women and children of the ghetto in Paris.
How did the French resistance influence your photography?
It really did. At that time, France was one of the leading powers in the world, and that’s why everyone was so afraid to speak out. They were all afraid to speak up because if they said something, they would be labeled an infidel or a criminal. Because of this pressure, I don’t think the French resistance and the French revolution ever really got rid of prejudice against working people. In the end, it just kept spreading and spreading because so much had happened.
What other issues influenced your photography?
The American revolution and the American Civil War were very important because they showed the way human beings can be affected by terrible things. It was really important at that time to be aware of this way of thinking. It was a way to change the world and to change it for the better.
Wherever you went you saw people suffering from the hardships of war. We thought the human condition in the world was really a tragic sight. We wanted to make sure that when we were out there, we didn’t do things that we felt we should never do. I was constantly saying that the people in the front lines, the soldiers, were not human beings. But, when the people with the bad luck, and who didn’t get out before they died because of everything that had happened in the war, got through, then that made a very strong statement. The human race had been dealt a bad hand. But, we should not be afraid, because we have the same ability that the soldiers have had: to make a living.
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