John Hedgecoe

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John Hedgecoe (24 March 1932 – 3 June 2010)[1] was a British photographer and author of over 30 books on photography.[2] He established the photography department in 1965 at the Royal College of Art, where he was Professor from 1975 to 1994 and Professor Emeritus until his death.[1] He was also Pro-Rector of the college from 1981 to 1994.[3] His photographs appear in permanent collections at the New York Museum of Modern Art and London's National Portrait Gallery.[2]

Early life[edit]

Hedgecoe was born in Brentford, Middlesex. Born the son of a banker, John Hedgecoe received his first camera from his father at the age of 14. Hedgecoe and his family were evacuated during World War II. They settled in Gulval, a village near Penzance in Cornwall where he attended the local school.[4]


Hedgecoe attended Guildford School of Art (now University for the Creative Arts), while also completing his National Service with the RAF. During his service with the RAF, Hedgecoe experimented with aerial photographic surveys of bomb damage from the war.[5] In 1957, he started work as a staff photographer at Queen magazine, working there until 1972.[6][1]

Creative work[edit]

In the main, Hedgecoe's works are focused on artists and writers. He said: "A good portrait photograph should try to tell us something about the subject's character, for the portrait is a visual biography in a sense." One of Hedgecoe's books was a Henry Spencer Moore, published in 1968.[citation needed] Most Photographs by John Hedgecoe are stored at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich.[6]

Postage stamps[edit]

Hedgecoe’s profile shot of the Queen, taken by him in June 1967, was used by Arnold Machin to make a plaster version. Once the plaster version was produced, Hedgecoe photographed it for the stamp image. It is one of the most-reproduced images, with over 200 billion copies sold.[5][7][8]

Personal life[edit]

In 1960, Hedgecoe married Julia Mardon. The couple has three children: Sebastian, Dolly and Auberon.[6]



  1. ^ a b c Hopkinson, Amanda (29 June 2010). "John Hedgecoe obituary". Culture: Art & Design: Photography. The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  2. ^ a b Bainbridge, Simon. "The man who taught the world to photograph". British Journal of Photography. Archived from the original on 10 June 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "John Hedgecoe Comes 'Home' in RCA Exhibition". Royal College of Art. 16 July 2014. Retrieved 2016-01-03. 
  4. ^ "John Hedgecoe Obituary". The Guardian. 
  5. ^ a b "Professor John Hedgecoe". The Telegraph. 
  6. ^ a b c Cripps, Charlotte (21 June 2011). "John Hedgecoe: Artists off their guard". Independent. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
  7. ^ Cooper, Goolistan (2014-07-18). "'Most reproduced photographic portrait ever' goes on show in Kensington". getwestlondon. Retrieved 2017-10-18. 
  8. ^ "Royal stamp photographer dies today". World Stamp News. 7 June 2010. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2010.