Introduction to David Hockney

David Hockney is an artist, originally from East Yorkshire, now living and working in California, USA. He was initially, a painter, and is still largely today. His work is often linked to Cubism and Pop Art.

Hockney often used his camera to make ‘jottings’ or notes of things he saw, that he could refer back to for a painting. In the 1960’s Hockney began looking at the wide-angle photographs being produced at the time. He enjoyed the large angle of view, the powerful perspective over so much and an image more similar to what the human eye would see. He did not like however the distortion that the wide lenses created. After photographing some Polaroid ‘jottings’ around his home, he unintentionally found they formed an interesting and different composition all by themselves.

After this discovering this, his interest in photography blossomed, even neglecting painting for a period to concentrate solely on photography. He used his artistic “visual curiosity” in his photographs, taking ideas from painting and transferring them to the camera. He defined the camera as “a drawing instrument”, and while many can pick one up it is the artist who uses it to create great images with intentional choices of space, focus, texture, line and colour as in conventional art.

Being firstly an artist, Hockney did not like the instant, frozen process of photography and he found a dissatisfaction from seeing the world via a rectangle “with edges”. The method he developed overcame both of these issues, the many photos showing the passing of time and creating a narrative through the final piece. By having lots of shots and combining them, his pictures go beyond the edges of the rectangle, giving multiple viewpoints, expressions, changes and possibilities. These varied perspectives often give his images a cubist, multi-angled view, and in that style he liked the ideas of creating these new ideas and making an image closer to the actual experience of looking.