John Oliver Hodges

John Oliver Hodges started taking pictures in high school, in Florida, afterwards attending the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies in Daytona Beach, where he learned about photographic processes and the history of photography. His favorite photographers are Chauncey Hare, Danny Lyon, Milton Rogovin, August Sander and the documentary photographers of the Farm Security Administration. He was a contributor to Archive Photo for about a month, but something went wrong there, and they let him go. He was an artist in Residence at Light Work in Syracuse. When his money ran out, he supported his photo habit with factory work until going back to school. Eventually he took an MFA degree in Creative Writing, and now works as a teacher in New Jersey. His photos have appeared in many magazines.

Volusia County, Florida

These photos were provoked by a documentary impulse, a desire to “save” the appearance of a thing that was guaranteed to transform and be lost. I used to think of myself as a kind of taxidermist, just one who preserved people through the magic of silver and light, as opposed to gutting and stuffing and replacing eyeballs with glass objects. As such, I roamed the neighborhoods of Daytona Beach in Volusia County with my 4×5 Horseman studio camera, a flood light, and a heavy Gitzo tripod. I knocked on doors. The people called me “Picture Man,” because I always came back with pictures that I gave out for free. It was hard work, but so is taxidermy. Both photography and taxidermy require an attention to detail and a commitment to beauty, which, of course, is in the glass eye of the beholder.

To view more of John’s work please visit his website.