Candida Höfer: Film Aesthetic


Trinity College Library, Dublin by Candida Höfer, 2004

In one of my project tutorials I was introduced to the artist above Candida Höfer. When researching her work on Google I came across some shots she had taken of libraries around the world and I was captivated by the sheer beauty of the lighting and the tranquility achieved through the seeming absence of human activity. Having pinned down my topic for my digital piece for my Narrative project I needed to find what atmosphere I wanted to create through my photographs. This photo of the library at Trinity College in Dublin particularly struck me not only because of the architecture of the building but the natural lighting achieved and the depth of focus bringing out all the small details that brings the image to life. Particularly noticed the ladder on the left hand side of the image which somehow suggests that this is a working library even without the people in it. I also liked the fact that all the books were at different angles crammed higgledy piggledy on the shelves this also adds in my mind humour to the image. The other striking thing about this image is a sense of the space and grandeur of the structure. You almost feel you could stand inside the image as it seems to just carry on from the detail of the focusing.

Whilst researching I found an article on the Tate website which revealed more about her library series.  Höfer also a contemporary of Gursky and Ruff specialises in photographing public interiors which reflect Western culture. She began taking library images in the late 80s limited to Europe and America. The images chiefly seem to document the space to somehow capture the ideals of modern society but also revert back to the historical foundations of the buildings themselves. I feel that the idea of a document is also emphasised by the seeming lack of human activity almost as if to say this building has been there. From reading this article I also found that her images are mostly taken from a high vantage point and this emphasises the space even further and also gives a sense of time passing.

To relate this back to my own project I will use this research to help achieve the right aesthetic through natural soft lighting. I also somehow want to give a sense of time passing to give a physical sense of my own situation.


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