SB: The issue of copying can be kind of touchy among photographers. Did you have any qualms about exploring these iconic images so directly?
AS: I really didn’t have any qualms about this. Photography is a language. And in order to speak the language, you need to learn about how other people use it. I know that there have been a number of controversies about photographers copying each other. But this was an educational experiment. And it was fruitful. As they say: Good artists borrow, great artists steal.
SB: You mentioned to me a little while ago that you had sort of fallen back in love with photography. I’m curious how you fell out of love and then back in love with it.
AS: For a little while I was exhausted. Tumblr, Facebook, Flickr and so on. … I felt like I was drowning in images. As a consequence, even work outside of that digital stream – the work I was seeing in books and exhibitions – started looking all of the same. More important, my own pictures started feeling the same. I was burned out. So I started experimenting. I made little videos and used disposable cameras. I played. I stopped making big, formal, large-format pictures.
Recently I’ve returned to a version of that more formal kind of photography, but I have a whole new energy behind it. I’m making pictures that surprise me. I’m feeling some of that same thrill when I was 20 and falling in love with the medium.