Martin Schoeller's Take on the Pleasure of Photography

In our latest First Take series, TIME interviewed New York-based portrait photographer Martin Schoeller, whose hyper-detailed close-ups – from Paris Hilton to Hillary Clinton to homeless individuals – have become his signature mark.

For Schoeller, humor often plays into his portraits: "The line between goofy and corny and funny is a very thin, difficult line to balance," he says. "I always take great pleasure in taking pictures that make people laugh."

Aiming to bring a democratic platform that invites comparison and levels out the playing field, Schoeller says he tries to humanize people.

To learn more about Schoeller's process, watch this TIME video.

Martin Schoeller is a New York-based photographer known for his detailed close-up portraits.

First Take is an ongoing video series curated by TIME’s photography editors. See the previous videos here.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.