That’s a Wrap – Photographer William Hodge Retires

‘Photo Finishing A Career Behind The Camera’

There’s nothing like a pandemic to give you pause. It’s an opportunity to consider your career, this stage of life. Where do you want to go with your future?

While inching my way towards retirement these past two years I enjoyed the portraits I created of people celebrating their right of passage, whether that be achieving Eagle Scout, a Bachelor/Master or Juris Doctor degree. These are all people striving to achieve and make the world a better place.

I like to refer to them as ‘America’s Future Leaders.’ I have great faith in these achievers. My peers at times will refer to the young generation as narcissistic & self centered. When I hear this I always ask this question.

William Hodge

William Hodge in the studio, one last time.

“What did your grandparents say about your generation when you were 20 years old?” Most people stumble a bit on the answer. Then I suggest their grandparents thought their 20-year-old generation was self-centered and narcissistic.

It’s a common refrain for the old to consider youth as immature and unfocused (except on pleasure.) How many times have you heard, “I worry about the country, the kids.”

My generation of Boomers faced the same criticism but did just fine after a few false starts. We grew up. The young generation will be fine. They’ll grow into their important role as well.

I’ve had the pleasure to meet many an Eagle Scout, college & law grad. They’ll be ready to lead soon and I’m sure the debate about the direction of this country will be robust. Good for them and good luck to them (but you better get it right, remember we’re still voting on your initiatives.)

Prior to my portrait career I enjoyed a career as a newspaper photojournalist photographing presidents, politicians, space shuttles, MLB, the World Series, NFL, NCAA, NBA, NHL, many things USC vs. UCLA, singers, writers, children and adults in victory and despair.

“I used 12 generations of Nikon cameras (Nikkormat, FM, FM2, F3hp, F4, F5, DCS 315, DCS 760, D200, D300, D300s and finally my wonderful D810) and yards and yards of film when the window of opportunity for capturing a good image was 36 frames.”

My images have always been about people, helping readers interpret the news, their lives and their times. I had the opportunity of switching to portraiture 20 years ago. It was a good time.

Through the years I used 12 generations of Nikon cameras (Nikkormat, FM, FM2, F3hp, F4, F5, DCS 315, DCS 760, D200, D300, D300s and finally my wonderful D810) and yards and yards of film when the window of opportunity for capturing a good image was 36 frames. I now capture imagery with cameras producing 100mb of pixels. Back in 1989 we started with cameras capturing 516kb of data.

So I’ll now retire from creating portrait photography. As America saddles up to corral Covid-19 I’ll hang up my portrait equipment and move on to a new chapter of photography, a new chapter of life. To everybody who allowed me into their life, to look deeply into their eyes, I say thank you for allowing me to be part of your achievement.

Some Achievements: Served as president of National Press Photographers Association, founded NPPA’s online Job Information Bank and co-founded The Electronic Photojournalism Workshop (the introduction of digital imagery and pagination to newspapers.) Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1983. As a 20 year volunteer Scouter, lead Troop 1 as Scoutmaster and served as Pacifia District Commissioner leading 36 Unit Commissioners serving 82 Scout Troops & Cub Scout Packs in Huntington Beach & Fountain Valley.

Let’s end with a paraphrased quote from Winston Churchill. “Success is not permanent. It must be achieved every single day.” I expect all those I’ve photographed to achieve every single day. I’ve attempted to do so myself and plan to do more of the same. I know truckers, doctors, nurses, first responders, postal carriers, plumbers, grocery checkers & stockers, and everybody else keeping society’s infrastructure operating during our current lock down are striving to do the same. Keep up the good work and thank you.

Stay healthy.

William Hodge, CPP
Certified Professional Photographer