Melanie Hofmann


Melanie Hofmann

Photo research 'Rainbow Nation'


Jury report

Silent snapshots from the 'Rainbow Nation'
How to pho­to­graph peo­ple one knows very well? How to po­si­tion a per­son one feels par­tic­u­larly close to in the pic­ture? Since her diploma the­sis in 2002 the pho­tog­ra­pher Melanie Hof­mann has been deal­ing with close and dis­tant rel­a­tives. The pho­tographs taken in South Africa are often a lit­tle bleached out while the peo­ple in the pic­ture are 'coloured'. Don't these seem­ingly harm­less pic­tures also take stock of a po­lit­i­cal sys­tem? One pho­to­graph with the sug­ges­tive title 'El­do­rado Park, Jo­han­nes­burg' in­evitably leads one to think about Apartheid and that today, South Africa wants to be a land of equal­ity, a so-called 'Rain­bow Na­tion,' which in the near fu­ture will en­able peo­ple of dif­fer­ent skin colours to live to­gether. The daugh­ter of a South African mother and a Swiss fa­ther, the pho­tog­ra­pher her­self has a bi­o­graph­i­cal con­nec­tion to the issue. She knows the peo­ple she pho­tographs very well and con­sid­ers her vi­sual re­search in South Africa as a kind of 'work in progress.' After doing a spe­cial­ist de­gree course in pho­tog­ra­phy at the Hochschule für Gestal­tung und Kunst Zürich and sev­eral years of prac­tice as a free­lance pho­tog­ra­pher, Melanie Hof­mann has for the last two years been study­ing at the Michaelis School of Art at the Uni­ver­sity of Kap­stadt. In her most re­cent se­ries of pho­tographs en­ti­tled 'Home Like Me' she fo­cuses on peo­ple in­side rooms: a slightly portly coloured woman sits on a sofa in front of a pic­ture gallery of fam­ily por­traits smok­ing. In other pic­tures one can see an elec­tric Christ­mas tree, a light bulb hang­ing from the ceil­ing, a in­door plant: seem­ingly mar­ginal de­tails that cap­ture a mood and meet in the area of ten­sion be­tween doc­u­men­tarism and 'kunst­wollen' (artis­tic vo­li­tion). The pic­tures are un­spec­tac­u­lar and silent, search­ing in­side pri­vate rooms for a re­flec­tion of the so­ci­ety out­side.
Peter Stohler


Melanie Hofmann
Born in
Designerin FH, Visuelle Kommunikation


also in