Size: 3 Items sound cassettes (165 min.)
Format: Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 44 min.
Summary: An interview of Joel Peter Witkin conducted 1999 October 18 and 2001 August 14, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, in Witkin's home, in Albuquerque, N.M.
Witkin discusses his childhood in Brooklyn; his Italian and Russian Jewish heritage; his parent's religious differences and their interest in art and music; his father's desertion when he and his twin brother were three; his early use of a Kodak camera in hopes to "see God," and finding an image and accepting it as an epiphany; a 1966 trip to Europe, especially time spent in Paris; his attraction to risk taking and pushing limits which he attributes to his father's gambling and his belief that such risks are necessary to discover life and self; photographing sideshow freaks, in which he discovered a sense of family; seeking the supernatural in photography; and spiritual redemption through his chosen medium.