You can almost hear the judge: “Well, you might think about cloning out the hat”
But Hockney is a painter. He knows about visual design. So the hat stays.
In an interview on photography, David Hockney said “Take a camera, look though the viewfinder and frame. That’s to say, make a choice, eliminate… Frame: that is to confront the problems of movement and the notion of time, but above all the representation of space”
For my money the hat can stay. I just worry about his feet betting burnt! It’s just been taken as it was. Nothing added or removed. Pure and simple. It probably won’t do well in a club photography competition, but I’m sure David Hockney doesn’t care as that was his intention.
A few random observations. I don’t think this picture was intended to be any more than a postcard, or at least to have that “throw away” surface appearance. I know nothing of the back story – there is bound to be one – but it has the look of a personal communication. It says a lot about Henry and, consequently, the hat is not a casual bit of clutter, it is Henry’s hat – a bit of his uniform. I can read a lot about what Henry might be like from this picture, even though I cannot see his eyes (an obsession in club portraiture). I don’t need to.
Hockney has thought deeply about photography, used it, but not as a photographer normally uses it. He met HCB on several occasions but I feel they may not have got as far as they might have done because HCB just wanted to talk about painting and Hockney wanted to talk about photography.