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Hockney on photography

The Hockney on Photography¬†documentary is mostly David Hockney in his own words discussing an exhibition of his photographic work, how he created the pieces and what he was trying to show through each piece. It also includes some commentary from two critics on Hockneys’ work. He also discusses the interplay between his photography and his paintings and how some photos inspired paintings.

The documentary provides a fascinating insight into how Hockney frees himself from what he calls ‘the tyranny of a single point of view’. How he plays with or rewrites the rules of perspective and viewpoint to better represent the three dimensional in two dimensions.

Hockney argues that a single photograph cannot effectively depict ‘grandeur’ or scale of view and describes his approach to creating single works through ‘grids’ (or collages) or single photos taken from multiple points of view. For example, he describes how for one full length portrait, he kept the camera in the same plain and gradually crouches as he takes pictures of each part of the body from close range, then joins them. He describes similar approaches to large landscape images, including the Grand Canyon and landscape in his native Yorkshire. The technique was first developed using Polaroid images, but he describes how he would later send 35mm film images to be developed and enlarged before joining them to form a single image.

Hockney’s approach seems to loosen the grip that reality has on single photographic images by allowing multiple point of views to exist within a single composite image. As he describes it, ‘painting with photographs’.

I very much enjoyed the documentary and plan to experiment with some of Hockney’s ideas in my own work.


Hockney on Photography. Available from Sky Arts TV [accessed 8.6.15]


Hockney pictures [online]. http://www.hockneypictures.com/works_photos.php [accessed 11.6.15]

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