We have all crossed paths with Jaime Hogge. His work consistently graces the pages of national publications, showing a robust versatility to capture the character of his diverse subjects. He has an ability, without hesitation, to get personal with his subjects to capture their natural charisma, usually within in the comfort of their own environment.
Mason Journal recently had a chance to speak to the man behind the lens to learn about his work process, his thoughts on the photography industry in Canada and why things uninspiring are his inspiration.
Mason Journal: What is your craft?
Jaime Hogge: I’m a photographer.
MJ: How would you describe your point of view as it pertains to photography, and how does this philosophy come through in your work?
JH: I like simple things and I like things to be simple. I’m pretty big believer in “less is more”, and that is how I try to approach each and every shoot. I’ll almost always start with the absolute most basic set up possible and only add pieces as needed.
MJ: Do you ever work in a collaborative setting with other artists/designers? If so, how does it influence your work?
JH: Yes and no. When I’m doing “personal” work, I call the shots I guess you could say. I like to work alone in these situations as well (no art directors, no assistants, etc.), so it’s by choice. However, in my day-to-day work as a magazine photographer, I’m always working with art directors/photo editors. Some projects are more open ended than others. Sometimes I’m simply told who my subject is, and how large the photo is going to run and that’s it. Other times I’m asked to showcase something about the person and/or their company/their occupation, or I’m asked to really hammer home something from the accompanying article, while still maintaining and applying my own style to the image. I think most of the influence of collaboration in these situations comes out in how these images are composed more than anything. A lot of time is spent sorting out how the image is going to fit into layouts and what kind of mood we’re trying to portray.
I’m also a pretty big fan of other types of art, and I’d love to collaborate on something with someone in a different medium, I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around it yet.
MJ: How would you say your approach or your product speaks to a ‘Canadian vernacular’?
JH: I think “Canadian” is tough to narrow down. On one hand you have reserved polite quietness, on the other hand you have Terry and Dean from Fubar. I wouldn’t say one is any less Canadian than the other, in my experience. I think that maybe the general simplicity that I try to achieve in my work is perhaps something that could be seen as distinctly Canadian. That and some of the utterly depressing landscapes (I’m looking at you in particular, Northern Ontario).
MJ: How would you like Canadian photographers to be perceived on an international platform?
JH: As incredibly talented individuals with striking good looks! I actually have no idea how Canadian photographers are perceived internationally already. It’s possible I’m just being a homer here, but in my opinion some of the best in the world are already here. A lot of Canadians (myself included) are always surprised when they see that whatever popular band is actually from Canada, or whatever popular actor/actress is from Canada. We’re a small country population-wise that honestly doesn’t really celebrate our talents nearly enough, and it’s always a little bit of a shock to see these things. I don’t have this reaction as much with random amazing photographers I stumble across online, because there are just a lot of great ones here.
MJ: Do you see any movements within the industry which can be described as unique to young Canadian photographers?
JH: Probably not unique to Canadian photographers, no. I think each city/market has its own trends and styles that could perhaps be considered to be unique, but I’m not sure I could identify something that all Canadian shooters are doing. Except maybe wanting more money and better copyright laws.
MJ: What new projects can we look forward to seeing from you next?
JH: That’s the same question I asked myself in the shower this morning, actually. World domination is one possibility. The honest answer is I’m not really sure at the moment. I’ve begun to amass a pretty large collection of images shot on the side of the road around Ontario (this is more interesting/exciting than it sounds… I think) that I’ve thought about compiling in some fashion, but I’m not sure how to approach it just yet. I also found an instructional text book on how to take professional looking portraits from 1976 that I’m dying to do something with.
(Photography: Tyler Anderson/National Post)
To learn more about Jaime and to see more about his work, visit www.jaimehogge.com All photos courtesy of Jaime Hogge unless otherwise noted. Thanks to Jaime for his time to do this interview.