Thomas Hodges’ Photographic Artistry: Where Conception and Imagination Meet

Thomas Hodges’ photographic artwork invites controversy, which he doesn’t mind one bit!  For sure, it sparks the viewer’s imagination, and that is Hodges’ goal.

When your artwork is labeled Erotica that is indeed ironic because ancient civilizations embraced the nude.  If we study art history, the depiction of the nude was certainly not foreign to the Egyptians, the Minoans, the Greeks, or the Romans.  In the Renaissance, Michelangelo and Da Vinci, among the many, featured nudes as did later prominent artists Rubens and Rembrandt.  The Shunga in Japan and the Kama Sutra in India are meant as teaching tools for sex, but are still considered classic works of art, and no one would call any of the above pornography.

In modern times, the artist Robert Mapplethorpe has been the subject of controversy over this subject, so the discussion continues, but to label Thomas Hodges’ work Erotica completely misses what the artist conveys in his photographs.  Hodges himself feels that to appreciate his work one must look beyond the sexual element and into one’s own imagination.  

To better understand that, first let us talk a little about Hodges, who is truly a man for all seasons.  Born near London, at eight his father who was a keen amateur photographer introduced him to the art, and the passion has remained to this day.  He subsequently studied in Denmark at Knightsbridge College and then Lille, France.  Armed with a degree in law and international finance, he worked in East Asia as a financial engineer and investment banker, helping poor countries there set up sustainable and socially responsible economies.  The love of photography was always with him and in 1984 he began working part-time shooting backstage at major fashion shows.  However, it was not until 2004 that he left the world of finance to pursue with great vigor a career as an artist.  He has since acquired international recognition as a photographic artist at the highest professional and popular levels.

His major interest is the female form, but his work transcends the subject matter, inviting the viewer into another dimension.  Indeed, to appreciate the work, the viewer must go beyond the obvious and reach into another realm of awareness and consciousness.  Hodges masterfully uses light, form, and composition to arouse images, inklings, and intuitions in the viewer; his works create an atmosphere and mood and serve as a springboard to venture experimentally into one’s own psyche.  This is what Imaginism is all about, an art movement Hodges started in 2006 as a complement to the poetic movement of the same name.

Natural lighting in his works is a fascination of Hodges and its manipulation is his forte.  He has been recognized for his skills in photography, having received many prestigious awards.

Ever a hard worker and entrepreneur, he enthusiastically pursues many venues in his work.  Though perhaps best known for his nudes, he has also produced high quality landscapes, fashion photos, and film stills, and has even ventured into the decorative arts.  A compendium of his works can be found on his website, which he designed.

Earlier in his multi-faceted photographic career, he did back-stage fashion spreads featuring top-tier designers, working in collaboration with a journalist.  He was able to sell his work to the likes of Marie Claire, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan, among many others.

Hodges is married to Chu Chiao Wang, who has been his muse and principal model and has served as art director/stylist for many of his shoots.  Having lived in Europe and Asia, he now splits his time between his homes in Taiwan and Italy.

His work has also appeared in such men’s lifestyle magazines as GQ and Playboy.  The appeal of all aspects of his oeuvre has given him a worldwide presence and he is featured in galleries around the globe.  Gallery Stock is his international syndication agent.

More influenced by painters than photographers, in addition to Man Ray and Helmut Newton, Hodges also cites Egon Schiele, Gustave Courbet, Gustav Klimt, Edgar Degas and Auguste Rodin, as inspirations.

Often his exhibitions are in conjunction with worthy causes, including a show in Asia to benefit human trafficking charities and a coming show in New York for cancer awareness, with Lady Gaga.  Hodges also has founded Expo-Arts, a non-profit group for mid-career artists.

Hodges has been honored by the Spider Awards for excellence in black and white photography, as well as the International Color Awards, the IPA-Lucie Awards, and the London International Creative Competition.  His works are held in public and private collections on many continents, including those of Sony Corporation and Shanghai University.  He is currently working on numerous book publications, including his first monograph “Imaginism”.

Never one to rest on past recognition, Hodges today enthusiastically and assiduously pursues excellence in his art, ever searching for that perfect light, but enjoying the journey.