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Evelyn Hofer. Ze werd 86. Dan heb je veel gezien.
Een bijna klassiek kunstenaarsleven, met vlucht uit nazi-Duitsland inbegrepen.
Van Marburg (1922) naar Mexico City (2009)

When Hofer was eleven her family fled Nazi Germany for Switzerland. She decided she wanted to be a photographer and set about it methodically. She began with an apprenticeship at the Studio Bettina, a portrait studio, and took private lessons with Hans Finsler, one of the pioneers of the “New Objectivity” movement.’

Niet alleen compositie als leerstof, maar haar opleiding omvatte alle fotografische technieken tot en met ‘art theory’ en ‘chemistry’ nodig om mooie afdrukken te kunnen maken.


‘Her career began in earnest after she arrived in New York in 1946 and began working with Alexey Brodovitch, the great art director of Harper’s Bazaar. In New York she became friends with the artist Richard Lindner, a fellow German émigré, who took her artistic education in hand and, she later said, “showed me how to look.” Another close friend was the artist and cartoonist Saul Steinberg.’


Hofer’s work has influenced such photographers as Thomas Struth, Joel Sternfeld, Adam Bartos, Rineke Dijkstra, Judith Joy Ross, and Alex Soth. There have been retrospectives of her work at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne (1994); the Aarggauer Kunsthaus in Switzerland (2004); and the Fotomuseum The Hague (2006). Last year (2008) her work was shown in Munich’s Villa Stuck as part of the Goetz Collection in the exhibition “Street Life and Home Stories” alongside the work of the photographers William Eggleston, August Sander, Diane Arbus, Thomas Struth, and Nan Goldin.


‘Working with a cumbersome 4 x 5 inch viewfinder camera, Hofer always photographed her subjects where she found them, but favored carefully composed scenes with a still, timeless aura. Almost in opposition to the on-the-fly work of her contemporaries Eggleston and William Klein, Hofer used extraordinary patience to slow the world down, examine its conditions, and capture the exact image that she envisioned, searching for an “inside value, some interior respect” in the people she photographed.’


Late in her life, when asked for her thoughts on being called “the most famous unknown photographer in America.” she said she liked it. She understood that what mattered was the work, not personal fame.

De mengeling van ‘the spirit of time’ met ‘a timeless message’ is een mooie samenvatting van haar omvangrijk werk.
‘Her trades-people and toffs, her families and social groups are more than just intimate portraits – they epitomize the possibilities and restrictions of the human condition.’

(citaten uit bio te vinden in Danziger Gallery NY’)


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