Hedgecoe wrote a series of photography books, for beginner and intermediate photographers, which I’ve read in the past and am re-reading now. These books are notable for his clear prose on technical matters, and for the wide range of photographs that he uses to illustrate his points. A core part of Hedgecoe’s philosophy is experimentation and problem-solving, and he provides detailed explanations of how he achieved particular images – the lens and light sources that he used, where he stood, etc. He also emphasizes the need for simplicity, both in his text and photographic examples.


“The first rule of photographic composition is to keep the shot as simple as possible,” he writes in The Art of Digital Photography. “This rule can often be successfully broken, but it always makes a good starting point. Begin a new composition by trying to find a way of capturing the subject with as few unnecessary details and unwanted distractions as possible.” [6]


Sometimes I suspect that serious photographers look down on Hedgecoe because of the popularity and accessibility of his books; if so, they aren’t paying attention to the images in among his words. I find Hedgecoe attractive for his emphasis on simplicity, his willingness to do hard work to get a good image, and the slight whiff of mischief that lurks in his best images.


Posted: July 2017.



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All Images © Tom Onyshko, 2017