Henry Moore with Sheep Piece
John Hedgecoe explained, ‘Even after all the years I knew him, Henry Moore was still at his most relaxed when posing with one of his sculptures’.  Here, he crouches to be seen through his sculpture Sheep Piece (1971–2). Although this act may seem playful, capturing his image in this way serves to physically connect the sculptor to his sculpture. He was often photographed in physical contact with his work, holding it as the maker or resting his hands on it as in ownership. Even when not physically touching the work, he may imitate its form, emerge above it, or is enclosed below it, or is framed by it, as here by Sheep Piece.
Sheep Piece was named such as he placed it in a field in his grounds, which he rented out to the local farmer for the sheep. Seeing the animals interact with the sculpture gave its name. It is made from two interlocking forms, one cradling in the other, as though they are bones at a joint. Having captured the sculpture up close so the hole framing Moore is the focus, much of the sculpture is out of shot. The bronze version has a dark patina, so this may be a plaster model or fibreglass version.
Moore and Hedgecoe remained friends from their first meeting in 1956 until Moore’s death in 1986 and during this time, Hedgecoe took around 6,000 photographs of Moore.  In his book Photographing People, Hedgecoe described two images of Moore, which played with the scale between sculptor and sculpture: ‘When considering a long-term project involving a pictorial record of a person’s life, it is important to include shots such as these above, that show the viewer important aspects of the subject’s work. These two are of particular interest because they show the varying scale of the sculptures created by Henry Moore – in the picture above he appears completely dominated by the reclining figure, while in the other at the top he is the most prominent element.’  In the present photography, being behind the sculpture, Moore seems to recede behind the small void.
In some of his photography manuals Hedgecoe used his images of the sculptor as an example of how to take a prolonged portrait of a single subject.  As Hedgecoe explained, with photography ‘you capture forever a frozen instant of time. But how much more meaningful those images can be is made plain when you see a progression of pictures of the same person taken over a long period of time.’ 
His photographs of Moore formed the basis of four books, which incorporated Hedgecoe’s photographs alongside Moore’s words. Although he produced around 30 photography manuals, these were Hedgecoe’s only books on a single subject.
Tania Moore, December 2020
 John Hedgecoe, Photographing People (London: Collins & Brown, 2000), p.59.
 Ibid., p.58.
 As estimated by Charlotte Bullions and Emily Unthank at the Henry Moore Foundation, 2020.
 John Hedgecoe, Photographing People (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980), p.56.
John Hedgecoe and Henry Moore, Henry Spencer Moore (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1968)
John Hedgecoe and Henry Moore, Henry Moore: Energy in Space (Munich: Bruckmann, 1973)
John Hedgecoe and Henry Moore, Henry Moore: My Ideas, Inspiration and Life as an Artist (London: Ebury Press, 1986)
John Hedgecoe, A Monumental Vision: The Sculpture of Henry Moore (London: Collins & Brown, 1998)
Tania Moore, ‘Portrait of a Friendship: John Hedgecoe’s Henry Moore’ in Henry Moore: Friendships and Legacies (Norwich: Sainsbury Centre, 2020)
Marin R. Sullivan, ‘Henry Moore’s Public Identity’, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publications, 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/henry-moore/marin-r-sullivan-henry-moores-photographic-identity-r1151299