The artist must operate on the assumption that the public consists in the highest order of individual; that he is civilized, cultured, and highly sensitive both to emotional and intellectual contexts. And while the whole public most certainly does not consist in that sort of individual, still the tendency of art is to create such a public - to lift the level of perceptivity, to increase and enrich the average individual's store of values... I believe that it is in a certain devotion to concepts of truth that we discover values.
We tried to present the ordinary in an extraordinary manner. But that's the paradox because the only thing extraordinary about it was that it was so ordinary. Nobody had ever done it before, deliberately. Now it's called documentary, which I suppose is all right ... We just took pictures that cried out to be taken.
All art is based on nonconformity ... Without nonconformity we would have had no Bill of Rights or Magna Carta, no public education system, no nation upon this continent, no continent, no science at all, no philosophy, and considerably fewer religions.
I've been asked often what is the difference between an amateur and a professional artist, and I will tell you. An amateur artist is one who works all week at something else so he can paint on Saturday and Sunday. A professional artist is one whose wife works so he can paint all the time.
When you talk about war on poverty it doesn't mean very much; but if you can show to some degree this sort of thing then you can show a great deal more of how people are living and a very great percentage of our people today.