Candida Höfer

German photographer Candida Höfer has a special interest in documenting the design and grandeur of public spaces like library reading rooms, palaces, zoos, and theaters. Her images are nearly always devoid of people. In the style of her teachers, photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher (who also taught Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth), she takes exquisitely framed photographs which capture the symmetry, design, and elegance of these man-made spaces. This symmetry is repeated and amplified as her series explore the same types of spaces over and over. Sometimes the effect is objective and distant, sometimes there is a palpable wonder at the vastness of human knowledge (particularly in her images of libraries), and sometimes the elegance and the high design of the spaces produce a certain gloom and spiritual emptiness, as demonstrated in her beautiful and quietly mournful series Zoologischer Gärten in which the zoo animals appear as props trapped in an empty human world.

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