In June 1966 he undertook a 20-minute shoot in the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace – depicting the monarch in profile in the 14th year of her reign.
The Queen selected her preferred picture and the sculptor Arnold Machin made a plaster bust, which Hedgecoe then snapped for the postage stamps in use to this day.
Thanks to those 45 years of mass production the royal portrait is believed to be the most frequently reproduced image – of anyone or anything – in the world.
We know the stamps as 'Machins' but if the photographer's involvement had been more widely known, maybe we would be referring to them as 'Hedgecoes'? After all they followed the series which uses photographs by Dorothy Wilding!
The Face of the Artist: Photographs by John Hedgecoe can be seen at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (telephone 01603 593199; website www.scva.ac.uk) from Tuesday until December 4.