Candida Hofer was born in Germany the daughter of a journalist. After graduating, she worked for a newspaper and then went onto become a student in Düsseldorf School run by the Bechers. 1973 to 1982 inclusive, Candida was highly sought after. She was considered to be one of the first of the Becher’s students to work in colour, always precisely composed, on a large-scale and shot in a classic straight-on frontal angle. She uses a Hasselblad (analogue) 6 by 6cm on a tripod to capture the images.
She mainly likes to photograph public buildings; banks and waiting rooms, but she also likes to shoot places like archives, hotels, libraries, museums, or opera houses encompassing non – human or without human presence because these are the places which should have frequent human presence. The empty and stark environment makes you question the fundamental character traits that draw people to these sites. She quotes “…it became apparent to me that what people do in these spaces – and what these spaces do to them – is clearer when no one is present, just as an absent guest is often the subject of a conversation.” It also helps us to look deeper into the fine architectural details within the scene, she also uses light in such a way to bring attention into the photographs. She has a tendency to keep the same viewpoint and an identical scale across a category of photographs of different subjects, which creates a typology within her work.
She researches from libraries and from the internet, but also the local residents, gaining as much insight as possible to enhance her photographs and maximise inspiration. She also verbalises that interiors and photography are an ideal match. Photography provides the opportunity to calm these spaces she feels. The images are parts of interiors. She also quotes “They are a continuation of my project of calm and ordered contemplation and reflection on spaces. They invite a concentrated view on structure, order and beauty.” She also adds “The subject matter itself hasn’t changed over time, but I believe my way of photographing has changed over time.” Photography for her is the right medium even though it’s evolved in the time she’s been photographing.
I concur and feel inspired by much of what she expresses, because it makes you think about the people who would normally visit these spaces, their absence makes you focus on the finer details of the architecture and even though the images look very simple and almost completely unedited there’s a fine beauty with all her work which appear to follow the rules of typology which help you identify her work and it also makes you notice much sooner the differences in the buildings. The colour is also very rich and expressive and yet quite a muted palette of colour is chosen for all those scenes. Her work is outstanding and gloriously beautiful I therefore, feel very inspired by her use of composition.