John Hodges has adopted photography as a companion to provide personal evidence of the places he has visited, to recognize the unruly spirit of youth, and to describe the simple spirit of regular folks who don’t fit into the mold of Madison Avenue. In a time when beholding a passion quietly embraced, a fact clearly stated or a vision firmly sighted have become orphaned qualities in the homes of many contemporary photographers, Hodges’ work is a refreshing reprieve.
Hodges is a prolific and energetic picture maker working on several different projects simultaneously. Xeroxed books, complicated collages and straight forward pictures intermingle in a practice that is surrounded by his innocent energy. In one group of pictures that he has fashioned into a xeroxed book titled, The Taxidermist, he sharpens mundane activities to a razors edge of urgency. The simple titles that accompany the photographs like, A Girl Wearing Sandals Near the End of the Day, A Sober Alcoholic and A Woman Sitting with Her Kids on a Saturday Morning, render insignificant moments as heroic glimpses into the diverse fabric of human encounters.
Hodges is not the first photographer to check the pulse of America, but at 23, the kindred specter he shares with his subjects replaces legions of experience with a comforting honesty and genuine curiosity informed by his uninhibited ability to take chances. His sincerity puts the people he photographs at ease and allows them to communicate on their own terms of integrity, purpose and dignity. Hodges shows us that photography can still be a barometer for investigating the subtle quirks of the human spirit, and as a means to measure our successes and failures in terms of who we are able to recognize, and who we are able to ignore.
John Hodges participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program in 1989.