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