[©] [Copyright] [2013] [Christopher Seaton] [All Rights Reserved]

Photography & Fine Art

Christopher Seaton

In Search of Hockney

As I wander down the street, I cannot help but glance in through the window of each and every house that I pass. Each scene is different; I see two old women sat drinking their afternoon tea, a young couple arguing because they have no money for food, and children happily watching the television.

With each passing glance I gain an insight into the lives of those people living there, a voyeuristic view into their world. This is the window frame through which I see things.

An artist turned photographer, David Hockney has inspired my photographic work almost since I first picked up a camera. I have been captivated by his photographs to such a degree that on numerous occasions I have attempted, and more often than not failed, to imitate his style.

To the outsider, one question remains about my work; why Hockney?

Lacking the gift of stage performance, being tone deaf and without the patience to paint, at the age of fifteen, I turned my hand and eye towards the art which still inspires me today: Photography.

Having been set the task of writing about a photograph contained within the one book on photography owned by my secondary school, The Photo Book by Jeffrey Ian, I flicked through the pages in an unscientific manner. Stopping towards the front of the book, an image suddenly jumped out at me. This image was by a man called David Hockney. This detail was of little interest, or significance, to me at the time. All I was interested in was the image.

Something about that photograph pricked me in a way that I would now consider to have been the 'Punctum' (Barthes 1981: 26-27). This unusual image, formed by numerous photographs, excited me in a way that has not been repeated since by any other photographer.

I cannot say exactly what it was, only that it was different, controversial even. When William Turner painted a landscape, he used just one canvas; when Alan Bennett writes a script, it forms just one play; when Bob Dylan puts pen to paper, he creates one song. So why, then, did Hockney use multiple photographs?

Hockney spoke of his intrigue and our necessity to always be "looking through a window" (Hockney 1985: 9-11). This metaphorical approach to seeing inspired many of his photographic montages, and maybe, just maybe, one day I will come across the window that contains Mr David Hockney himself.