The power of Polaroid

Last September, Jeffrey Hogan went to the beach with a pal. Four days later, he woke up in a hospital.

He was coming out of a diabetic coma and no one could find his family. But he had his friends, a whole circle, in fact. Many are featured in his debut photography show, titled “Overlooked,” now on view at the Glama-Rama! hair salon through May 19.

“All my work is about friendship and collaboration,” Hogan says. “As soon as you were born, as soon as you woke up, you were collaborating.”

Hogan shoots on Polaroid film; notonly does he harness the bold and stark color palette to which the medium lends itself, his commitment to the show’s theme, and subsequently the exhibition’s name, is flawless.

What started out as the artist’s documentation of his new life in San Francisco (Hogan moved to the city two-and-a-half years ago) grows into a deeply personal study of iconography, people, stereotypes and authenticity.

“Blackout dinner” shows the remnants of a meal: a plate half-filled with grapes, another occupied by three muffins, an empty baking tin, charred black, off to one side. All are a reminder of the two weeks Hogan and friends spent living during a power outage.

In “While you were out,” the leaves and branches of a tree dangle in one small corner of the photograph, the remaining three-quarters of the frame filled with bright blue cloudless sky. Hogan took the shot while he waited for a friend to get out of the hospital. Even without the benefit of a back story, the photograph’s sparseness — coupled with its single-color dominance — is beautiful.

Part of a diptych, “Panther” features Panther, a sort of icon around San Francisco, most recognizable by his eccentric waxed mustache. He is photographed in his element with a top hat resting languidly in his hand; his head is cocked shyly to the side. As eye-catching as he is, he is also “overlooked.”

“People just write him off as some hipster white kid, but he’s a really great guy,” Hogan says.

Given the documentary style of Hogan’s work, it would be tempting to simply slap together a series of photographs that could possibly succeed on retro appeal alone.

Yet the photographer never loses sight of the show’s purpose. For all of its deeply personal undertones, he manages a professional solo exhibition that stands on its own from both an aesthetic and a substantive viewpoint.

Still, at the end of the day, Hogan says the realart is in friendship.

“I have to thank these people,” he said. “They’re the people that held my life together; the people that inspire me.”

Overlooked

Where: Glama-Rama!, 417 S. Van Ness Ave., San Francisco

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; closes May 19

Admission: Free

Contact: (415) 861-4526, www.glamarama.com

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