An Education (The Shoebox Years)

Jocelyn Bain Hogg
 

“...Any one who has been to an English public school will always feel comparatively at home in prison.”

- From Decline and Fall, Evelyn Waugh, writer and former pupil at Lancing College.

 

Sent to a preparatory school from the age of 8, boarding there from 10, thence going to a public school like Lancing College aged 13 was normal for those of Jocelyn Bain Hogg’s class in the UK during the seventies. This was the accepted rite of passage to prepare for their paths into ‘the professions’, that status demanded.

Fortunately there were photography lessons, supposedly to introduce interests outside of the school curriculum, but this hobby was Jocelyn’s ‘salvation’. He appropriated his late father’s Rolleiflex and photographed everything he could, learning to take pictures from looking at the few photography books in WH Smiths in Brighton on rare days out, where work by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Don McCullin and Mary Ellen Mark caught his imagination. The enthusiastic proprietor of a local camera shop taught him f-stops and how to use the beautiful, inherited camera during the school holidays. On his 16th birthday, he was given an Olympus OM2 by his mother. The die was cast.

On clearing out his mother’s things after her death, 30+ years after leaving Lancing College, Jocelyn discovered a shoebox marked ‘negs’. She had kept them safe for all those years. Hundreds of frames, dirty, distressed and in need of major cleaning - here were previously unseen images of his world as a teenager, sound-tracked by The Clash, The Beat, and XTC - where everyone was young and beautiful, marched for rock against racism, railed against Thatcher, rebelled, and was blithely innocent...

Shown here are just a small selection of the ‘shoebox’ images.