To resume again...
Josefina: What was the start with respect to showing your work around?
Philip: The start was Pat Hearn in the late 70's, early 80's...
J: And your famous photographs depicting male prostitution, how, when did they come along?
Ph: I photographed male prostitutes at the Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles...at a certain time of day there is but drug and prostitution there-this was for a show at MOMA in 1993.
J: How does your subject change in time?
Ph: I am very much straight nowadays. No self-destruction ideals anymore...I even have a fascination for people that destroy the antibourgeois...
J: Did your life change much as your ideas changed?
Ph: I've been married many years to my wife and now we have a very young kid...it's survival nowadays..."tomorrow is a responsibility" sounds more attractive, the case of immortality passes and you become conscious of your sense of mortality...
J: Am I supposed to relate to a certain kind of irony in your words, in your work...?
Ph: No...not irony, not cynicism either, what I do in my work is witness things that have a humor to them.
J: Is there a subject to your photographs?
Ph: Most of the time it's the subject of the photographs and a factor on street life...
J: How do you choose the characters?
Ph: They come from the fringes of society...people that escape notice but are nevertheless the paragons of society.
J: The guy with the umbrella, the newspaper and the cellular phone in New York, how is he a paragon of society?
Ph: He is every thing that everybody would want to be in that area-this is 5th Ave. and 52nd St. in Manhattan-this guy epitomized this whole thing.
J: Tell me more...
Ph: It was raining, there were a lot of people in the street, I walked around with my camera waiting for things to happen...cliches, incidents...I leave it open...I am only partly conscious of what's going on...there's always more than what I expect, or less than what I hope...the instant where things occur is serendipity...So there comes the guy with the umbrella, the paper, and the cellular phone...he seems to require what's not necessity...again the umbrella has an inscription that reads Four Seasons...say he's an oil man from Oklahoma, obviously a business man...a dead-pan...you see the humor?
J: You mean your photographs to be funny?
Ph: I cannot say I mean them to be funny...I am looking to criticize, you cannot avoid expressing your opinion...as for the whole situation, it places this guy in a class...protected by an umbrella monographed by an expensive hotel...this should be the only hotel in town to provide the guests with monographed umbrellas...only in Tokyo they do such a thing...
J: Did you talk to the guy?
Ph: I don't talk to those people, the people I choose never said anything to me...they're only a part of it. I choose photographs where my presence is not important...Only a child looked at me once...and the Indians looked...they stared at the equipment.
J: What do you use apart from the camera?
Ph: I often use a tripod because it allows me to hold the camera to my face.
J: Do they know you are photographing them?
Ph: They know you are taking a photograph.
J: Did they notice you in Tokyo, when were you there?
P: Tokyo....in September...there's so much distraction in Tokyo, they weren't going to look at me. All those buildings...downtown there is this feel of offices...at a certain time of the day people get released from their offices to go home...they were walking into a tunnel...everybody seems to have their eyes down or wear glasses, an incredible reclusion, they were so beaten in their lives...its axiomatic though that photographs are deceitful.
J: Mexico City seems to be one of your chosen spots...
Ph: The white plastic bag in the woman's hand is a common denominator, actually an annoying part...why is someone carrying an empty bag?
J: This is the Third World Philip...she refuses to bring back the groceries rapped in newspaper. Is there a third person's point of view in your art?
Ph: There is a third person's point of view, sure. There is a narrator who is the viewer.
J: Isn't the viewer a rather passive narrator?
Ph: Passive is also being active.
J: Who do you call on as a teacher?
Ph: Jan Groover was my teacher.
J: Have you done commercial photography?
Ph: I worked for Condé Nast magazine for 12 days, with Pico-Tyer and for 8 years I worked for a travel magazine.
J: About psychoanalysis...do you have an opinion?
Ph: Psychoanalysis...to show you to dangle is a problem...there you are hanging, you are choking...so you go and complain about your wife...and you get into the habit of doing it...nobody is exempt from that. I'm more of a product of the 12 step mentality...that is addicted to the idea of not being addicted.
J: Are you saying the three men in Brussels following the sexy woman into the building don't even look at her because of them being so alienated inside their business thoughts?
Ph: It was a coincidence of chance, not a manifestation...the truth arises from facts. You may think the parts are contingent, they are, still they lead you to the truth.
Philip-Lorca diCorcia, New York, ektacolor print, 1998