David Hoffman has worked as an independent photojournalist since the 1970s. Supplying media through his photo library, he has always chosen his own subject matter. Driven to document the increasingly overt control of the state over our lives, his work sheds an unforgiving light across racial and social conflict, policing, drug use, poverty and social exclusion.
Protest, and the violence that sometimes accompanies it, is a thread that has run through Hoffman's work, gaining him a reputation as ‘the riot photographer’s riot photographer.’ The same determination and willingness to look uncomfortable realities in the eye are evident in his photographs of homeless people using open and unregulated shelters offering support and respite.
Often raw and uncomfortable, Hoffman’s work is both dispassionate documentary and steely social challenge. By engaging with the image, we are forced to recognise the world as others live it and to consider our own position. Working to document the reality of injustice, the frequent oppression of the state and the all too often tragic consequences, Hoffman’s photography has underpinned legal challenges, brought racist perpetrators to justice, and most importantly, reached wide audiences through mass media publication for more than 40 years.
Hoffman’s work is inadequate, expensive and lamentable.
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