“I photograph in public and semi-public spaces that date from various epochs. These are spaces accessible to everyone. They are places where you can meet and communicate, where you can share or receive knowledge, where you can relax and recover. They are spas, hotels, waiting rooms, museums, libraries, universities, banks, churches and, as of a few years ago, zoos. All of the places have a purpose, as for the most part do the things within them.” – Candida Höfer
German photographer Candida Höfer studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Bernd and Hilla Becher. Her work is widely recognised for its technical perfection and conceptual approach. It is focused on the presentation and structure of space, what we do to space, and what space does to us. Her meticulously composed photographs explore the internal architecture of space, in places such as churches, zoos, opera houses, libraries, and museums. Höfer presents these images on a large scale, which has become a hallmark of her work. In depicting emptiness, Candida Höfer attempts to capture the feeling of loss that someone’s disappearance engenders. On her decision to exclude people from her photographs Höfer has said: “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.” The lack of people allows audiences to consider the role played by the missing inhabitants, and further emphasises the architectural details in her photographs. German, b. 1944.
Candida Höfer, University Library Hamburg A