Monday, April 28, 2008

Young photog is 1st Thursday phenom


Most photographers with a 10-year backlog can’t boast that they’ll become a teenager in a few weeks.
But give Montecito resident Aidan Hogge his bragging rights. The 12-year-old will celebrate his first teen birthday in two weeks, in the midst of his second solo photo exhibit.

“My mom gave me a little disposable camera about one week past my second birthday and I just kept doing it,” Hogge said.
Photos taken by the Santa Barbara Junior High School seventh-grader have been exhibited in galleries since he was 7 years old, earning multiple awards.
This Thursday, Hogge will unveil a group of stills at Faulkner Gallery East, 40 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara, for his second solo exhibit, which will run throughout May. An artist’s reception is planned from 5 to 8 p.m. as part of the 1st Thursday festivities, featuring homemade chocolate chip cookies.
From a young age, Hogge’s mother, Michelle Rhea, noticed her son had a natural sense of composition. Even with her taking the photos, he would compose shots, she said, moving himself around in the frame.
Many of his photos are taken on family trips or a random weekend outing — San Francisco and Stonehenge being among the most memorable. The young photographer said he doesn’t have a specific preference for what he captures with his lens.
“I take photos of a lot of different subjects,” he said. “I don’t like taking photos of people much, but I like animals and architecture and different things.”
After years of snapping shots with point-and-shoot disposables, Hogge upgraded to a small film camera several years ago and now fires away with a digital Canon Rebel.
While many of his photographs are crisp, vivid images of nature or architectural themes, he digitally manipulates others, forming wildly colorful abstractions.
“I do some pretty weird stuff with Photoshop,” he said, referring to a computer photo-editing program he has been using since age 9.
“I experiment a lot with different tools,” he said.
Hogge has never taken a photography course, save an afterschool lesson or two on Photoshop, and isn’t sure if he will take classes in high school or college.
Heavily into artificial physics, Hogge spends his free time on his computer surfing the Internet for games and simulations. He plans to study robotics and keep photography as a side hobby.
“I don’t remember what got me into it, but I did take an afterschool robotics class and I really enjoyed that,” he said.
As far as his approaching exhibit of approximately 15 photos, Hogge said he submitted samples about a year ago and earned the spot. After culling through hundreds of images, he carefully selected a group to display — a mix of digitally altered and standard shots.
With Hogge spending time on his computer and starting guitar lessons a few months ago, Rhea said it can be tricky to find time for her son to take photos, but once she gets him out of the house and clicking away, he’s right back in the zone.
“Once he has the camera in his hands and starts, it’s like when is it going to stop?” she said.
Samples of Hogge’s older work can be found online at

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