I finally had a chance to read the interview by Ralph Gibson of his friend and fellow photographer Larry Clark in this month's Interview magazine. Clark is probably most widely known as director of the movie Kids (written by Harmony Korine) but first gained attention and infamy for a collection of photographs of his friends published in the book Tulsa (1971). It's a good interview, worth reading, but this is the part that most caught my attention:
My lesson for photography... I tell people to frame the picture. Make the greatest, most perfect composition you can...and then take a step forward. It skews it a bit and makes it more interesting.A retrospective of Clark's work, Kiss the Past Hello, opened October 8th at Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, and you can pick up the current issue of Interview (the one with Naomi Campbell on the cover) to skip the Naomi Campbell interview and read about Larry Clark. See more images at Luhring Augustine.
I remember [in the '60s] everyone was leaving all this space around their pictures. The subject would pretty much be in the middle but there would always be space. You would see landscapes and see space around them, but at the same time I was going to museums with [Ralph Gibson] and looking at paintings... painters are chopping off people's arms and feet and just hacking off their heads. It was so much more interesting. My greatest lesson in composition was looking at paintings.