Thirteen Questions for the legendary photographer
By: Jason Atomic
Punk Globe: Your work seems documentary almost to the point of being anthropological, what came first your interest in the subjects or the media, were you interested in photography as an art form or primarily as a means of recording what you saw around you?
GATEWOOD: I have a degree in Anthropology. I work in the spirit of artistic photojournalism.
Punk Globe: What or who is your muse, what inspires you to start a new project?
GATEWOOD: George Gardner, a fellow anthropology student, turned me on to photography. So did The Family of Man, a great book showing images from the famous Steichen MOMA show.
Punk Globe: How do you know when to stop?
GATEWOOD: I'm 68 years old and still as busy as ever. I will never stop.
Punk Globe: A lot of us are fascinated to the fact that you were around on the 'beat' scene, can you share any juicy gossip or anecdotes?
GATEWOOD: I spent a week with William Burroughs in London, 1972, for Rolling Stone. Burroughs then wrote the text for my first book, Sidetripping, which chaged my life.
Punk Globe: Sometimes, I fear, we can get too fixated on the past and miss what's under our noses. Is there a scene at the moment that you think we'd be better off paying attention to rather than mooning over dead beat poets or whatever?
GATEWOOD: The destruction of America by cowboy capitalists.
Punk Globe: Many photographers were very dismissive of the new technology when digital photography arrived whilst others took to it like a fish to water, Is there a big distinction for you between digital & film photography?
GATEWOOD: I shot film until recently. Now I shoot both. Digital is fun and easier to use in some ways--and no darkroom chemicals.
Punk Globe: You have photographed a lot of extreme people and scenes, do you subscribe to the view that "the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom" or more specifically are drugs good for art?
GATEWOOD: Blake was right--but many have died exploring that path. Today I believe in moderation.
Punk Globe: Do you believe in god/magic/religion are you a religious or spiritual man?
GATEWOOD: Magic is everywhere, and we are pure spirit.
Punk Globe: Do you believe in art school, have you been, can art be taught?
GATEWOOD: Sure. On the other hand, I've never taken a photography class.
Punk Globe: When you are not working how do you unwind, do you have any hobbies or interests you are passionate about?
GATEWOOD: Recreational intoxicants and barely-legal girls.
Punk Globe: Do you have pets/familiars?
GATEWOOD: Yes. She's 24 years old and totally cute.
Punk Globe: Are there a historical periods or characters that fascinate you, people, places or things you wish you could have photographed?
GATEWOOD: Yes, America in the 1930s and 40s.
Punk Globe: Are you named after, or otherwise related to, Charles B Gatewood (the 19th century soldier responsible for the surrender of Geronimo), and if so has his place in history affected you personally in any way?
GATEWOOD: I suspect we are distant relatives, but I hope not.
Punk Globe would like to thank the wonderful Charles Gatewood and Jason Atomic for the great interview...