Melanie Hofmann


Melanie Hofmann

The photography books:
'Home like me'
'Back to the World'
'Weekend Special'


Jury report

Family Histories
This is the sec­ond time that Melanie Hof­mann has re­ceived a Swiss Fed­eral De­sign Award for her pho­tographs de­pict­ing her South African roots. In 2006, she won the award for her work 'Strange Fruit'.

Hof­mann began fo­cus­ing on her own fam­ily his­tory back in 2002 and con­tin­ued to ex­plore that theme for the next seven years. In her first award-win­ning cycle, she con­cen­trated mainly on the nu­cleus of her fam­ily in Cape Town, be­fore ex­pand­ing her view both ge­o­graph­i­cally and bi­o­graph­i­cally in her 'Home like me' and 'Back to the World' cy­cles. She shows close rel­a­tives and friends, and the places where they live. She con­sis­tently pur­sues ques­tions of ori­gin and iden­tity. In 'Week­end Spe­cial' she rounds off the se­ries with a ret­ro­spec­tive glance, show­ing im­ages of her­self and her friends in younger days.The colour pho­tographs are pub­lished in lim­ited-edi­tion book form under the title of each re­spec­tive cycle.

Her pho­tographs focus on the small sit­u­a­tions and the lit­tle things of every­day life: a sleep­ing child, a small bunch of pink flow­ers be­hind a sofa, a woman smok­ing, a cat in the liv­ing room, a car in the garage. These are in­ti­mate and seem­ingly ca­sual shots of peo­ple and their sur­round­ings. The pho­tographs give a di­rect and un­pre­ten­tious glimpse of life, with nei­ther ar­ti­fice nor em­bell­ish­ment. They exude an at­mos­phere of calm that is all the more po­tent for its un­forced or­di­nar­i­ness. The faded colours re­call old fam­ily snap­shots and the sto­ries they tell. Melanie Hof­mann has de­vel­oped a highly per­sonal and con­tem­po­rary vi­sual lan­guage that is ex­pressed in her work. It makes no dif­fer­ence whether her pro­jects are com­mis­sioned or self-ini­ti­ated. The view of things pe­riph­eral and in-be­tween re­mains the same.
Au­re­lia Müller


Melanie Hofmann
Born in
Designerin FH, Visuelle Kommunikation


also in