annie can inspire

i highly recommend annie leibovitz's new book, AT WORK. it will inspire photo enthusiasts and artists alike. here are a few excerpts that i loved:

What advice do you have for a young photographer who is just starting out?
"I've said about a million times that the best thing a young photographer can do is to stay close to home. Start with your friends and family, the people who will put up with you. Discover what it means to be close to your work, to be intimate with a subject. Measure the difference between that and working with someone you don't know as much about. Of course, there are many good photographs that have nothing to do with staying close to home, and I guess what I'm really saying is that you should take pictures of something that has meaning for you...you have to care about what you do. You might even seem to be obsessive about it."

How many pictures do you take?
"Certainly fewer than I did when I was young. But don't worry about it. It varies. It takes what it takes."

"There are not many smiling people in my pictures. I've never asked anyone to smile. Almost never. Where did "Smile for the camera" come from? It's a tic. A way of directing attention to the camera. "Look at the birdie." It took me years to understand that I equated asking someone to smile with asking them to do something false."

"When I'm asked about my work, I try to explain that there is no mystery involved. It is work. But things happen all the time that are unexpected, uncontrolled, unexplainable, even magical. The work prepares you for that moment. Suddenly the clouds roll in and the soft light you longed for appears."