Little Worlds - Access


Two Women, Tucson, AZ 1972


I saw the two women from across the street from where I was standing. I wanted to make their picture. But how?

I was taking a beginning course in photography at the time and had already identified the type of photographs I wanted to make - pictures that might make a difference in the world, pictures that could be tools for social change. But I had no idea of how to make those kind of photographs.

I was a shy person and had no idea of how to approach people different from me, how to gain access to their lives. So I became adept at hiding in the bushes, stealing images with a tele-photo lens. My instructor, whose name I can’t remember, called me on it. “What are you afraid of?” He asked. “Why are you hiding?” “I don’t know,” I answered. “Perhaps myself.”

I walked across the street to the two women. I said hello and asked about them, where they lived, and who they were. They were old friends who hadn’t seen each other for awhile, They’d both lived in Tucson their entire lives and known each other for most of that time. “May I make a photograph of you?” “Of course,” they answered in unison, drawing close to each other in an expression of intimacy I couldn’t have directed, or stolen.