david hockney – the bigger picture

I love David Hockney's pictures. I warm to him perhaps because, like me, he was born in Bradford and I often pop in to Salts Mill to see his work.

I met his friend the late Jonathan Silver once and there are people like them who have a wonderful independence and way of looking at the world; they're able to look at something ordinary and make something of it.

Hockney Imagine on BBC ONE last week featured a film about Hockney made by Bruno Wollheim over a three year period. David Hockney would not have a film crew follow him but did allow Wollheim to shoot the documentarty on his own.

The way the film was made is in itself interesting. At one point in the film Wolheim could be seen in a mirror both conversing with Hockney and shooting the film simultaneously. Here was a film being made by someone on the inside of the story being given special but qualified privilege.

David Hockney declared photography as incapable of capturing things as they really are, "this needs looking at" he says with a twinkle. He explains that it was all looking through holes; all Western perspective was – you're not connected with it, you want to be in it. I don't look thought the camera anymore,he said.  So, having once embraced photographic techniques to aid his art he has now abandoned the camera, or so he says. Wollheim catches Hockney sneaking some photography into his work and challenges him on this. 

I liked the tone of the film and David Hockney comes over as thoughtful, witty and even spiritual. He thinks that three things are required to paint great pictures – hand, eye and heart.

If you're quick you can watch it again on BBC iPlayer here

Bruno Wallheim's own story in The Telegraph