Q&A: Paul D’Amato


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? Try to remember that none of the individuals on the sports teams I root for are actually from the town (Boston) that I grew up in, especially when they don’t win. You can no longer speak english, pick a new language. Italian. What was the last crime you witnessed? The city turning off the water to a family I’ve been photographing for years. they have to borrow buckets of water from their neighbors to make the toilets work.

What is your plan for the next 24 hours? It’s suppose to be hot tomorrow, so load the film holders tonight so I can photograph all day. Would you like to see more or less political correctness? This is the best, most dangerous question of the bunch. I think I’d like to see more correctness (period) and not have it be measured against any kind of political advantage. What part of the planet would you like to explore? I love going to Europe but I think, right now, I’m more interested is exploring more surf spots along the California coast. Where do you think the most dangerous place on Earth is? Washington D.C. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? Abraham Lincoln? Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Andre Breton? the Beatles?… the Beatles.

 What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? I shoot a lot and so the ones that got away have had less to do with not having a camera and more to do with not making a better picture when I had the chance. Make a prediction for the future. That the future will look back at the years before 2000 as the golden era of photography, like we now look at the 50’s through the early 90’s as the renaissance of Rock & Roll, R&B, Soul and Folk. I’m hoping to be embarrassed to have said this. Your favorite painter? My wife, Anne Harris, then, after her, Goya or Caravaggio.

What is your nationality? U.S. What nationality would you like to be alternatively? Italian. Ultimate camera? Leica, M series – still the most beautifully designed camera though I’ve long since stopped using mine in favor of larger formats. Most used camera? Last eight years: Linhof 4×5, before that Plaubel and Mamiya 6×7’s.

Paul D’Amato – From the series Barrio.