#InDetail with Candida Höfer, Palais Garnier Paris II, 2004. With this image, we are given a rare glimpse of this renowned photographer at work.
Over the course of a four-decade career, #CandidaHöfer has produced a photographic oeuvre that explores the psychological impact of architecture by focusing attention on the contrast between its intended and actual uses. Her archetypal images capture the interiors of cultural and institutional spaces including libraries, theatres, churches, and museums—spaces of public congregation that in her photographs are rendered devoid of people. These empty spaces invite the viewer to consider the role of their missing inhabitants, while the large-scale nature of the work allows us to linger over the architectural details and contemplate the subtle shifts in light that make up the character of the space.
In speaking about this image, Höfer states, “I was very lucky. A friend was working for the then director of this famous opera house. The director seemed to like what I am doing. I had access to all spaces. The whole interior is impressive, it gave me goose pimples when I arrived there with my assistant Ralph Müller. This particular space is used by the ballet corps, if I remember correctly. I did not intend the image to become a self-portrait. Because of the many mirrors, it just could not be avoided, and I did not want to miss that space.”
Image: Candida Höfer, Palais Garnier Paris II, 2004, C-print, 180 x 204 cm, Edition of 6, © Candida Höfer, Köln / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn., Courtesy Sean Kelly, New York