Aaron Hobson's work came to my attention in late 2007. He and I exchanged messages about Crewdson, LaChapelle, Sherman and, of course, self-portraiture.
Nicknamed The Cinemascapist, Hobson creates panoramic film stills for semi-autobiographical films that have never been made. From his bio: "Hobson's work is created by combining several sequential, vertical images, thereby offering more visual information and an obscured rendition of any moment depicted by a single image."
His images, predominantly set in various locations in the remote Adirondack Mountains where he is based, often feature the photographer as multiple characters and have a way of slowly sinking in: the full details of the images are not always immediately obvious but most rewarding when you do absorb all the clues laid before you. His attention to all those little details, his use of light and locations to full effect, and his ability to create believable characters playing their part in intriguing narratives makes the images both beautiful and mysterious. Though the format of his site has changed since my first visit (previously the images spanned the full width of the browser window), the impact of the images is still strong at their reduced size.
There is a sinister edge to his first three "seasons", dark, even darker and winter, and I suspect the darkness that permeates his work thus far will continue into his new season, femme vérité.
And this is where, for me, his work becomes even more interesting. Hobson's new season involves the wiry, tattooed man transforming himself into female characters for narratives based on the encounters and the lives he has shared with various women.
From the early images appearing on his blog, such as the above image, new beginnings, (and subsequently, complacent and go away), as I had suspected, there is no sense of the lampooning of women or female self-portrait artists. Simply, an artist pushing his work into new areas without observing the limitations of gender when selecting his roles.
I look forward to seeing the series unfold.