You can reach the Hodgson’s Choice selections through the links at the bottom of this page; or you can choose Hodgson’s Choice from the Categories menu, high on the right-hand side of the Home page if you happen to be viewing these pages in the Desktop version.
I’ve never been a collector in practice, but the chance to grow a virtual collection was too good to miss. From 3rd January 2013, my series Hodgson’s Choice ran briefly in the Financial Times. The formula was very simple: I picked a single picture each time (or a tight group of pictures), added a brief explanation of why I wanted to add them to the collection, and that added up to an agreeable and informative short column.
I live in Britain, which still lags behind other countries in the energy and sophistication of photographic collecting, and if a column like this can stimulate collectors either to begin outright, or to expand the scope of their activity to get beyond mere fashion or value, it will have been well worth doing.
The first column was on Kertesz’s gently sublime picture of a cafe table, published in György Bölöni’s book Az Igazi Ady, about the Hungarian poet Endre Ady (d.1919). The series didn’t run very long: The Financial Times discovered that people charge you for using pictures outside the publicity-connected context of the review. Very quickly, I was told that Hodgson’s Choice was too expensive to continue, since I often referred to pictures that were not in free circulation for publicity just at that time. But it seemed a good idea, so I’ll post again some of the old selections here; and maybe add some new ones from time to time, why not?
Post Script: Enough people have asked me that I think it right to add this –
Hobson’s Choice is an old expression meaning ‘any choice you like so long as it agrees with mine’. Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable gives this: “Hobson’s Choice means no choice at all. The saying derives eponymously from Thomas Hobson (1544?-1631), a Cambridge carrier well-known in his day (he is celebrated in Fuller’s Worthies and in two epitaphs by Milton), who refused to let out any horse except in its proper turn.”
I thought his surname close enough to mine that I could borrow his phrase.
There is a bit more on the ‘rules’ of Hodgson’s Choice, such as they are, in the first piece, on Ady’s Poem (below)
Hodgson’s Choice List: