I've been one of the image-makers who created this concept of perfection. I've done a thousand magazine covers where I'm celebrating Hollywood, glamorous people. Which is all good. It's all entertainment.
I am not a photojournalist and certainly not used to the Jason Bourne type stuff that some photographers have to deal with.
I always wanted to be the underdog. For me, as a portrait photographer, it's the kiss of death to become well known. I did my best work when no one knew who I was. People weren't threatened by me because they didn't think I was a big deal.
My father is an architect, so I often think like a designer or an architect. I remember when I was admiring buildings, I would look up at them and see this perspective and this awesome power of the monument in front of me.
I'm not a politician or a scholar or political historian. I'm just a photographer who's trying to capture a spirit. It's not an intellectual process; it's an intuitive process.
I never think about a shoot before I do it. Because there's no formula for people. What I try to do is to strip everything away rather than go in with preconceived notions. If I do that, I might miss a gem or a jewel that the person is offering me.
I do have my own personal convictions and values, and I live by those. But as an artist, as a portrait photographer, my job is to tell the truth and to capture someone's spirit on a certain day. And it's never the whole truth; it's the truth I experience in a very intense and intimate fashion.
I'm a portrait photographer that's used to shooting celebrities, and I usually need time and all kinds of lights and a studio to set up my shots.
Mugabe had a very strange quality about him. He was dapper. He had the strangest skin -- it looks very shiny, but it's not oily. It's stretched very finely over his flesh. His eyes have layers of cyan crystals in them. It was a quiet, dark moment when I took his picture.
I've always had a healthy disregard for authority -- it allows me to do my job as a portrait photographer and not as someone who is playing the power game.