In his newly published book, “A British Entertainment,” photographer Jocelyn Bain Hogg examines his heritage and the class system. His modern take on the “Season,” or Britain’s social elite, reveals a culture largely unchanged since writer Jane Austen’s time, he said.
“It’s very much continuing with the same people, but the next generation,” he said.
He doesn’t imagine the class system will change, and he finds it “slightly comforting that somehow something very, very British is going on,” he said.
Visiting age-old gatherings, such as horse races, polo cup finals, weddings and charity events, Hogg captures the essence of high British society. The likes of Pippa Middleton, Prince Harry, Prince Charles and musician Ronnie Wood appear within the pages of his book, confirming the exclusivity of many of the events he attended.
“I was surprised at how much I enjoyed myself,” Hogg said. “It’s always about what’s there, about capturing reality by getting as close as possible.”
Within his images, unseen by the casual viewer, may lie a strange face, lover’s embrace or minute detail adding depth to the project.
To research for the Thomas Pink-sponsored project, Hogg said he watched 1940s British films, drawing the most inspiration from actor Trevor Howard. Of course, knowing the system and the Season influenced him, as well.
His year-long project reveals something those outside of Great Britain might not normally see, as the English tend to come across very reserved, he said.
“You think, ‘They must be doing it for the camera,’“ he said. “But they’re not.”
In a nutshell, he said, the project is about “the British entertainment.”
- Elizabeth I. Johnson, CNN
Headshot photo by Marcus Dawes