The Yoruba tribes have a word for “cool”: they call it itutu. Someone with a cool head, a metaphysical connection. I looked for that through my photos and in my life—that wisdom, that depth. I searched for it from one part of the world to another, and when it appeared before my lens it was incredibly exciting.

I am often asked how I came to be around the luminaries I photographed. But none of us thought like that. We were just friends sharing ideas.