My forefathers are… painters like Caravaggio and Picasso.
The illustrious Magnum founder Henri Cartier Bresson… was like an uncle to me. In my world, uncles are treated with a special affectionate status. They aren’t as stern as fathers.
A photographer… isn’t aware of himself and is totally immersed as he captures images.
I work in black and white… because I see the world in those terms and it helps me to transcend reality.
Working in Sarajevo was emotional because… A child who was bombarded by Serbs still had his eyes open like he was lost in a dream.
Tyrants and the infamous… you understand them but must never justify their actions.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini… looks like a snarling tiger in one of the pictures that I shot when he returned to Iran after his exile. That says a lot about him.
My next project… covers Hinduism in India.
My preparation involves… reading the works of Indian novelists like Aravind Adiga and Salman Rushdie because no one tells the stories of their countries better than them and it’s very interesting to be in the country and reading the book where it is set.
Humans are… a crazy bunch or the world would get boring.
Events happening in the world… will keep me in business for a while.
Abbas, 45 years in Photography runs through Sep 18 at The National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Rd., 6332-3659. Free-$5.