What’s the secret to taking a great picture?
You’re looking for, not quite someone’s soul but… some cultures used to believe that you took away someone’s soul by taking their picture. I wish you could, I’d have a lot of souls in my collection. You learn to read someone; I know how much you pay for your shoes or your jacket. I could sum somebody up quite quickly. Superficially I’d know who they are. I’m not always right but I’d have a good idea.
Has anyone ever been different to what you expected?
In the last five years I’ve reassessed Salvador Dali. I was wrong. I used to dismiss him – I thought he was a bit of a showman, and he was, but I let that get in the way of his art, which is actually very good. I get seduced by the person, and he’s got such a personality.
He’s a very strange man, Salvador Dali. I met him in the lift in St. Regis hotel in New York, and he said: “Would you like to meet my sister and my wife?” And I said: “Yeah, alright.” And he said: “Here they are.” And he had a walking stick with a pillar on top, with two little naked dolls, and he said: “This is my wife, and this is my sister,” and he pressed a button and they span around. And that was how I met Dali in one of the poshest hotels in the world.
What do you think of photography today?
There’s not much of anything anymore, it’s all been watered down. I don’t think there will be another star photographer. I’m the last of the photographers. It’s all iPhones; iPhones are going to be the future. There’s no room for those big stars anymore, but there will be something different - it won’t be what you expect. I don’t think there will ever be another Marilyn Monroe again. You’ll never get photographs like [Richard] Avedon anymore, because the clothes don’t exist anymore. It’s all gone.
What impact do you think this year will have on art and culture?
I think it’s changed people; it’s changed society. It’s as good as the ‘60s as a key period in time. I think it’s made people more aware of things in life that they never took seriously. I don’t think things will be the same as they were, which I always like. I like continuous change. As Buddhists say, that’s the reason for life: everything changes.