As a critic, Francis Hodgson’s daily concern is with the details of individual practice. Yet he has for some time been looking for a forum in which to broaden enquiry by taking a wider sweeping look around. Gladly taking the opportunity offered by the Festival, Hodgson will seek to bring to the fore some of the kinds of questions which more usually lurk at the back of the minds of practitioners and users of photography.
The cultivation of taste has been a fundamental underpinning of the visual arts for hundreds of years. Yet it has also been a confusing and sometimes arbitrary measure, often used merely to bolster prejudice or fashion. Since the rise of conceptual art (and associated practices) taste has tended to fall into the background. As photography moves inexorably into its conceptual and digital period, it is intriguing to ponder the role taste plays in photography under its newer configurations. Is taste simply too old-fashioned to offer any useful guidance? Or can it still have a central helpful role to play?
Francis Hodgson writes on photography for the Financial Times and is a consultant on various aspects of photography to a wide roster of clients. He co-founded the Prix Pictet, the world’s richest photographic prize, upon the executive of which he also sits. Hodgson was until 2009 the head of the photographs department at Sotheby’s in London. He has been a writer on photography for many years, including stints as contributing editor on photography for Art Review, and a regular contributor to The Economist.
He was once VP for content development at Eyestorm, the online art dealer, and before that was the founding European creative director for Photonica, a major photographic stock library. Hodgson has been a gallerist both in the private sector and the public, and has been a frequent visiting lecturer at photographic schools (he used to teach a course in the culture of photography at the Royal College of Art).
Francis Hodgson is one of the professionals teaching at the Northern Lights Master Class 2011-2012.
Date: September 18, 2011, start 13.00 hrs.
Location: USVA, Munnekeholm 10
photo: Francis Hodgson © Anton Corbijn