Since 1977, I've been trying to photograph the family, and I really didn't know what I was searching for. But it had to do with the fact that I thought the American family was disintegrating. That I didn't think family members were close enough, didn't show enough affection.
Sunday New York Times was taken in a very sort of crazy summer morning. This family was kind of wild and nutty and everybody's crashing around. I knew I wanted the father at the head of the table. And I sort of yelled at Michael, and said to Michael "Can you sit down there?" I needed to have someone sit still, because without any lighting, I needed a long exposure. And so Michael held still, and that's why he looks kind of stiff.
I only realized what was important about the picture after I blew it up four by five feet, which was the first time I'd ever blown a picture up that size, and really that was quite revolutionary at that time. I think what was important was that it had a composition that flowed. It had a focal point, and yet it wasn't stiff. I also wanted the viewer to have to sort of swing through and weave their way into the back of the picture. Because I wanted it to look like it's not easy to get into this place, to get through to these people. To penetrate this world. But you can if you want.
I didn't know my pictures were going to be type cast as photographs that were about the rich, or the upper class. But I did know that the world was unusual, it was precious, it had quality, and it had a beauty, and I wanted everyone to see all the beautiful details.