Q: Tell us something about your life and yourself.
I was born in a small town in Upper Austria, left school when I was 15 and started a 3,5 year photography apprenticeship. By the time I was 18, I moved to Vienna for the mandatory community service and stayed there after that. While working in different random 20h jobs for about 4-5 years, I was building my photography business and skills under the alter ego KIDIZIN SANE. By the age of 24 I passed the exam for the master’s certificate in photography which was obligatory to get self-employed. This work runs on KIDIZIN
My personal work, which this interview and my following answers refer to is on christophhofbauer.eu
Q: When and why did you start taking pictures?
Back in 2001, when I was 14, I already worked a lot with photoshop 6.0 – but only making flyers and illustrations, finding it hard to get images to use from the internet, which was not that big back then. So I wished for a digital camera to take images for my flyers. I quickly fell in love with the possibilities of image manipulation and constructing alternate realities. It was never for documentation or photography per se back then, but only a tool to implement a concept.
When I was about 27 years old after a decade in the digital business I needed another outlet but I didn’t want it to be something completely different, so I grabbed my dad’s old Canon AV-1 and started shooting my personal work on 35mm and 120mm film.
Q: How do you choose your subjects?
I think I’m looking for tension or oddities in settings and subjects, maybe even struggle.
But mostly I choose my motives subconsciously, when I’m not shooting for a concrete project. I’m always carrying a camera so when something catches my attention I’ll take a picture. It’s in the second phase, when I’m looking through my photos and things start making sense. I see connections between certain pictures, as if they have always belonged together. This is where the actual subject-choosing begins and where the projects and series start shaping up in my mind. That’s how my series “Memorable Phenomena” and “Equal Dreams” came into being. There are of course other projects, which are bigger and more conceptual ideas to begin with. These require serious planning ahead and preparation. But I love these two parts about my personal work.
Q: Often in your pictures your subjects are figures blending with the setting… has this a meaning?
I like to give the subject some space and show it’s place in relation to it’s surroundings.
Q: Is there any artist or something that inspires you?
The obscurity of life, reality and the human existence itself probably the most. Even if this sounds a little vague and “out there”, it is more than enough inspiration for me.
Q: Why do you shoot on film?
For many reasons. I appreciate that it comes with errors like not being perfectly sharp, grain or color tonalities that you wouldn’t expect. I think these imperfections trigger the brain to make up a story around the image more easily. They often feel more relatable.
Q: We do believe that every artist shows a part of their own personality and character in his photographs. What do you want to show in yours?
If you’re working artistically without commercial intention your’re probably doing it because you love it and you can not – not do it. So automatically you’re transporting strong feelings because you want the work to reflect yourself. You wouldn’t make something that you, yourself are offended by or bored with.
I guess it’s more like a personal therapy than wanting to show something meaningful to someone.
Q: What are your projects for the future?
I have many ongoing projects for the next year or two already but I prefer talking about them when they are finished or at least close to it.
Q: Suggest us a film or an album.
I just watched the new seasons of Fargo and Better Call Saul which I can strongly recommend.
All images © Christoph Hofbauer