Festival Exhibition: John Hedgecoe - Face of the Artist

Monday 13 July 2015 - Saturday 25 July 2015

10am-5pm Mon-Sat (Closed Sunday) • King's Lynn Arts Centre • Admission Free

The Sainsbury Centre presents a selection of remarkable portraits by John Hedgecoe who was one of the foremost portrait photographers of the 20th century.

Hedgecoe is best-known for his portraits of artists, writers and poets, and the selection will include Henry Moore, David Hockney, Francis Bacon, John Piper, Barbara Hepworth, Elizabeth Frink, Peter Blake and John Betjeman.

Following Hedgecoe’s death in 2010 his family donated a magnificent collection of the artist’s work to the Sainsbury Centre. This special exhibition is drawn from the collection and includes portraits of major personalities who have been closely associated with the Festival through the decades.

Hedgecoe lived in Norfolk for many years at Oxnead Hall, home of the Paston family centuries before. His photographs have that special quality that enables the photographer to capture the essence of the artist. Hedgecoe once wrote that “a good portrait photograph should try to tell us something about the subject’s character, for the portrait is a visual biography in a sense”.

Nowhere is this “visual biography” better illustrated than by Hedgecoe’s portraits of Henry Moore. The two became close friends and developed a 30-year collaboration including the publication of four books.

Hedgecoe’s interest in photography began at 14 when he was given a camera. He gained a scholarship to study photography at Guildford School of Art. By the mid-1960s he had gained a reputation for his unconventional but elegant approach leading to freelance commissions for a number of publications including The Sunday Times magazine, The Observer and Tatler.

In 1965 he was asked to join the Royal College of Art and start a Department of Photography, becoming the first Professor of Photography in the UK in 1975. He continued to teach at the RCA until 1994 when he was made an Emeritus Professor.

He was not only a celebrated portrait photographer but also an educator and his books on photographic technique sold more than nine million copies around the world. He continued to take photographs and to write until his death at the age of 78.


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