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The Firm

Intimate, visually surprising, and at times violent, The Firm is fiercer and, in its clever depiction of modern celebrity thugs, more ironic than any Guy Ritchie film.    American Photo

If photography was the sole criterion for membership of The Firm, Bain Hogg would definitely be a member with the ranking of the highest order.  Bruce Gilden

I nearly came when I saw it.  It just looked so fucking naughty.  It looked like it would beat up all the other books in the bookshop, nick the days takings out of the till and run off with the best looking shop assistant.  It is the absolute bollocks mate, believe me, beg, steal or borrow a copy. Or as a last resort buy one.   Dave Courtney

From Booklist
*Starred Review*
To Americans, the English seem too polite, well spoken, and cute to be gangsters. But English gangsters there are, though plenty have Welsh, Irish, and immigrant surnames. The younger ones could be any European or North American country's modern mobsters, and the old guys look just like Luciano and other old mafiosi. Photojournalist Hogg ran with them for four years, and he presents them in brutal black-and-white in a classy oversize volume whose black pages and binding give it the aura of a glamorous charnel house. The first and last images in the book depict the interments of the last two of the notorious Kray brothers. In between, the Krays' remaining colleagues, their successors, and assorted henchmen appear. They are mostly big, beefy men, fond of model-like women who don't mind baring a breast on a regular basis. If the oldsters stick to tailored suits, the youngsters affect celebrity duds, jewelry, shaved heads, and tattoos. The latter revel in publicity, and two batches of photos show one especially genial tough on tour with his new book. The island of Tenerife has become a refuge when the heat is on, and another stunning sequence shows a bare-knuckle boxer and henchman romping there while the matter of a knifed opponent cools down. Author-hood and boxer-hood each contributes his story to the book's sparse commentary, and the other commentators, even the nongangsters, prove as enthralling, not least for comparing this lot of toughs to King Arthur's Round Table gang at one end of England's history and the Windsor bunch at the other.  Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --


In Idols+Believers, Jocelyn Bain Hogg's stunning photographs serve as windows into the world of celebrity and pop culture. These behind-the-scenes portraits ooze glamour but also the raw and lonely flip side of fame.  Harper's Bazaar

An entertaining and provocative exposé of the fame industry, 13 Feb 2006 
From the front cover shot of an empty red carpet, to Angelina Jolie’s vacant gaze from the back of her limo, through the junk merchandise and celebrity junkets in between, Jocelyn Bain Hogg’s stunning photo essay throws a penetrating spotlight on our seemingly infinite capacity for celebrity worship. His probing images are skilfully interwoven with the testimonies of people inside the fame machine – actors, performers, genuine legends and wannabes yearning to join the spangle-heeled throng. Highlights include the acutely observed prose-poem “What You See Is What You Get” by prog-rock icon Peter Hammill; a masterclass in attention-grabbing by outspoken playwright and performer Tim Fountain; the touchingly delusional story of Superman lookalike and acting hopeful Christopher Dennis; a revealing essay on the making of stars and their stories by Harper’s Bazaar’s Sarah Bailey; and an unsettling insight into the psychology of celebrity culture by Priory psychotherapist Sarah Hirigoyen. A brilliant antidote to the pointless and poisonous mindset of reality TV and celebrity lifestyle magazines, and a coffee-table photo book that you will actually want to pore over and read. The anti-celeb backlash starts here!  'bored_of_celebs'- (Amazon)

Pleasure Island

My favourite thing about Jocelyn’s photos is that I look at them and can hear the music of the Kaisers, Norman Cook and the Klaxons thumping off the page. He brings across the joyful debauchery of Ibiza in vivid colours. Mark Ronson

I was a sceptic before Ibiza Rocks, but it has been great to help bring different types of music out there and watch it hang with the big club experience: it’s on the island and it’s in this book. Zane Lowe

To me Ibiza used to be a TV programme on a Friday night after Eurotrash … It was only when I got there that I knew it wasn’t going to be my last time. I didn’t see one pink furry cowboy hat or one hurtling plastic chair. How could I have wasted so many summers? Ricky Wilson


This exhibition takes its premise from J G Ballard’s book The Kindness of Women, where he states that “beauty is the square inch of skin seen on waking up close to the one you love”.

So much of the history of photography has been about the pursuit of beauty.  A whole industry of perfection enhancers has been in existence almost since the medium began – first armed with paintbrushes and latterly, and more insidiously, with digital technology to give the impression that unattainable standards of physical perfection are commonplace.

In contrast, what Jocelyn Bain Hogg presents is a view of femininity that flies in the face of the unreal – or perhaps hyper-real – version of beauty that we find all around us in magazines and advertising.

His approach is immensely human in the way it embraces frailty and flaws.

In these often large-scale images, Bain Hogg has isolated his subject from any background – there is no other context than the simple presentation of the flesh and humanity.

Often using friends, family and partners as his subjects, we’re offered a cold, hard view of intimate details, sometimes extreme close-ups of faces, hands, or other body parts.

It’s both honest and brutal. These images reveal details of imperfections that most of us – even the moderately vain – would be quick to cover up. Facial hair, wrinkles, bloodshot eyes, evidence of smoking or drinking, evidence of just plain living are all laid out. 

Whether Bain Hogg’s subjects knew that his technique was going to be so penetrating is unclear. His sitters are, in the main, impressively unselfconscious, perhaps unaware of what tiny aspect of their body the photographer is trying to reveal. If they were aware, they were certainly brave, few of us would put ourselves up for his inquiring gaze.

Bain Hogg often uses a ring flash. Originally developed by fashion photographers as a way of giving an even, shadowless light it has been adopted in recent years as a way of lighting forensic close-ups. And that’s what many of these images feel like; unvarnished truth, evidence, plain presentations of visual fact.

Most of the images are given simple, single name titles but no other information is offered as to the relationship with the photographer or the occasion that prompted the taking of the photograph.

One or two of the pictures drift into a more dreamy and sensual mood – the strand of hair curling down the nape of a well shaped neck in Karol, or the shoulder of Lucy with its twisted bra strap, or the mysterious and dreamy Cicely who seems to be floating in water.

Bain Hogg almost relishes the kind of imperfections that make people real. He’s also not afraid of age, treating wrinkled skin with the same interest and value as any smooth, youthful glow.

It could easily cross a line into bad taste, wallowing in the grubby or making a virtue of the ugly, but Bain Hogg’s skill is to know where that line is.

He’s aware of the point at which his documentation of the real would become simply a grotesque parade of blotches – and he stays on the right side of it.

Darryl Corner  The Western Mail 23.04.10
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