Pascaline Hofmann Interview
Lemonade Magazine: For those who aren’t aware of you or your art could you give us a brief introduction?
Pascaline Hofmann: Originally from the South of France, I came to Edinburgh four years ago to study Professional Photography at Stevenson College. I am freshly graduated and now I work as a freelance photographer. The work I produce is mainly fashion but I also do portraits.
LM: Who or what inspired you to start creating art?
PH: I come from an artistic family: my grand-father was a painter and my father a photographer, in his early years. I guess this is how I started to love art and images. I learned how to look at shapes and colours, how to ‘feel’ the moment and see the beauty in simple things. This helped me to create my own little world.
LM: You honed your craft at University, how did you find your time studying and did it help you to become the artist you are today?
PH: Studying photography was essential for me to learn about techniques. Tutors always pushed us hard, and it paid off at the end. I feel that I built up both style and confidence. The best bit was to exhibit this year at the Free Range in London. But there is still a long way to go and so much more to learn about photography.
LM: How would you describe your creative process? Is there a specific starting point or do you prefer to approach your work more organically?
PH: Like most photographers, when I shoot a fashion series I think about a concept and a story. I always see the outfits as the personality of my model and I play around this. But my favourite part of taking picture is to get emotions from my models. It takes patience but it is worth the time spent. I cannot consider my photographs without capturing emotions and strength.
LM: Tell us about your favourite piece of work that you have created to date and why it is so special to you?
PH: I want to say the portrait of ‘The Red Hat’. I created this photograph using the technique of light painting. It was new for me and I learnt a lot while using it. It took me more patience and concentration than for my other photoshoots, and every attempt was different. I really enjoyed working this way. I can see softness and mystery in this photograph.
LM: You are an awarding photographer having won the portrait category of the BIPP Student Award 2012. How did it feel to be recognised for your work?
PH: As you can guess, it feels great! This is the first ever award that I win and it was a really pleasant way to complete degree. It gives a reason to work hard. At the same time it is one photograph over the rest of my work, so I still have a lot to prove.
LM: What is it about fashion that inspires your work and have you thought about delving into other areas of photography?
PH: There are two things: first, people are the reason why I take pictures. Then, fashion boosts my imagination. When I look at fashion designs, I see extravagance, originality and creativity. It tickles something in me and my imagination. From this, I can create a concept and story around it. I love this feeling. But the outfit is nothing without the model who wears it. I choose my models carefully and I always give them the first role. To be fair I consider fashion and portraiture as the same. If I do not shoot fashion, then I shoot portraits.
LM: Who are your favourite artists, past and present?
PH: Paolo Roversi has been a main revelation and inspiration for my work. I love the feel and softness in his work and the way he recreates beauty. I met him in Arles (France) at the beginning of July this year and the way he talks about the light is magic! I am also really keen of the work of photographer Boo George and his black and white style. Another inspiring artist is musician Django Reinhardt. I tend to listen to Gypsy Jazz when I feel creative or when I work on my images. It drives my mood.
LM: What is your favourite piece of work created by another artist and why?
PH: I will never get bored of the series shot by Paolo Roversi ‘A Girl of Singular Beauty’. It is all about feminity, sensuality and natural. Natalia Vodianova is ‘sublime’ in it!
LM: Do you have a particular material, brand or technique that you swear by and use for all of your work?
PH: I don’t swear by anything special but a lot of communication and patience with my model. This is the technique I use to get emotions on my photographs. Also so far, I shot all my work with a Canon 400D. Not the most professional camera, but it can do great stuff!
LM: Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for aspiring artists?
PH: Trust your intuitions. It is not always the camera that we use that makes the best work, but the way we use it.
LM: Can you give us 3 words that describe you as artist?
PH: This is not the easiest question but I would say curious-unsatisfied-sensitive.
LM: What can we expect from you in the future and is there anywhere you would like your work to take?
PH: Ideally, my aim for the future would be to work for the ‘Haute-Couture’ designers. I am very aware of the competition and the small opportunities that this industry offers… but if you don’t try, you don’t get. Right now, I am looking to assist photographers and collaborate with creative people. I will be soon leaving Scotland to try my luck in Paris or London.