“To me, a great photograph goes beyond just being something beautiful to look at. I suppose, to be a better portrait photographer than everybody else, you are trying to draw something out of a person that they don’t show everybody. I think it’s absolutely crucial to be a people person. It always amazes me when I hear about shy or socially awkward photographers, to me that’s really weird.
You’ve got to be able to get on with people and you’ve got to be interested in them. I always research people before I photograph them. Do your homework. If you are trying to say something about someone, you need to know who it is you are saying something about. Everyone can point a camera, you need to be able to get people to give you more.
I think the first thing you’ve got to do is pick a project and go and do it. You won’t get commissioned showing a little bit of everything. You can bend the genre you are working in once you are very well known, but I don’t think you can do it at the beginning of your career.
You have to focus and work out what interests you. For me, I knew it was portraits. It sounds obvious, but you need to practice. You need to take lots of pictures, find out what you enjoy taking and what your style is like. There is no substitute for taking lots of pictures.”