John Hodgkiss

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John Hodgkiss



First name: 
Last name: 
Date of birth: 
25 September 1966
Location of birth: 
Johannesburg, South Africa
Date of death: 
15 March 2012
Location of death: 
Melville, Johannesburg, South Africa

John Hodgkiss was born on 25 September 1966 in Johannesburg. He studied fine art Rhodes University. Here he also studied under the renowned photographer Obie Oberholzer. John Hodgkiss was based in Johannesburg.

His close friend, fellow artist and colloborator, Steve Cohen says of Hodgkiss, “But inside the photographer was always the minimally producing, thoroughly genius artist, a magnificent talent, mostly suppressed. John let himself be thoroughly used by the art community, and he abused himself in providing service, running the machine at the wrong pace, working Da Vinci hours, sitting up impossibly late at the computer screen for decades.”

Over the last several years he worked on numerous projects with the artist, William Kentridge, photographing extensively in his studio and on several of his theatre productions, and contributing to a number of books on Kentridge.

He has done important documentary and archival work for galleries in Johannesburg and has worked with many South African artists, completing monographs with Steven Cohen, Deborah Bell, David Koloane, Sandile Zulu, Handspring Puppet Company and others.

Another close friend, Toby Shapshak, called Hodgkiss a “documentarian because he documented so many artists. He documented so many of the moments of our lives, but he was in a class of his own and he had a feeling for film [photography].”

John Hodgkiss died of natural causes in his sleep on 15 March 2012 in his Melville, Johannesburg, home.

He is survived by his parents and three sisters. 

•   Cohen S. (2012). John Hodgkiss (1966-2012): art photographer who fatally gave it his all from Art Times 27 March, [online] Available at Accessed on 4 June 2012
• Krouse M. (2012). Lens closes on a colourful life from M&G, [online] Available at   Accessed on 4 June 2012
• Fourth Wall books. Photographers: John Hodgkiss from Fourth Wall Books, [online], Available at accessed on 5 June 2012

Last updated : 01-Nov-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 06-Jun-2012