Timothy Hogan Biography
Timothy Hogan’s immaculate still lifes and creamy beauty shots distill his subjects down to their essence. “Few of my photos require external propping,” he explains. “It’s one object as a hero.”
There’s a purity and elegance to his work, qualities that have attracted a wide range of clients, including Vogue, InStyle, Nike, and Chanel. Although he has galvanized his visual style, Hogan likes to test the limits of his way of seeing, and his personal work often takes him in unexpected directions.
For one project, he selected two iconic pieces of menswear and set them on fire. As they burned, he photographed the process. “The fire has a life of its own,” says Hogan. “It’s fascinating the way it consumed the shirt, from cuff to collar, slowly taking it over.” Although the project started out as a study in white on white, the resulting photos offer a nuanced mix of amber, brown, gray, black, and even green. There are gently curled bits of cloth, their edges charred, and the surface is strewn with chunks of ash, as if there had been a small explosion. Recently, Hogan has been experimenting with video. “I had been looking at my still lifes and wondering, How can I make these move? What’s the next level?”
He got a chance to find out when longtime client Tommy Hilfiger asked him to shoot video based on his surreal still lifes featuring Hilfiger wristwatches. The timepieces were wrapped around stones resting in a mirrorlike body of water, so there was not an obvious action scenario in place. But Hogan orchestrated the play of light—easily his favorite tool—to produce footage that was both dreamlike and dynamic.
In a lot of ways, Hogan’s photographs are like Hogan himself: precise and free of artifice.
Visit him at work at Jewel Street Studios in Brooklyn and you’ll find the atmosphere to be focused but easygoing. If he’s not at the studio, chances are he’s at his favorite surf spot: Ditch Plains in Montauk, New York.
Hogan took up surfing in 2002 and has become a devotee of the sport, even though he’s had some tough times out in the waves. He broke his back surfing, but rather than give up his board, he was back at the beach just four months later. “Surfing transformed the way I think,” says the Connecticut-born, New York-based photographer. “My brain is always on—I’m always thinking about things, ideas, my work. But when you surf, that’s all you think about. It’s a physical and personal challenge. And I like that—I like to push myself.”