Fanny Hoetzeneder

Once a year or so, I come across work by a photographer or budding photographer and it hits the spot in terms of what I'm looking for in a photograph as a piece of art. It's an infrequent thing: after Nan Goldin, there was a gap until I discovered Francesca Woodman and then another gap until I discovered Elinor Carucci and then another gap until I discovered Rasha Kahil. I've got monographs by/ about Goldin and Woodman and am lucky enough to have two prints by Carucci and one by Kahil, hanging on my walls at home. Like Kahil, who I discovered via her MA degree show at the RCA, I recently discovered Fanny Hoetzeneder via the summer showcasing of graduating work at LCC (the London College of Communication). One of two photographs of hers caught my eye and have that hard to explain magic, especially this one whose simplicity, colour, intimacy and 'snapshot rawness' reminds me so much of Goldin and Carucci's work
The first time I saw this photograph it instantly made me think of many things, but first of all Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides, my joint all-time favourite book, along with the Diary of Anne Frank. It also made me think of Sofia Coppola's grainy, colourful adaptation of The Virgin Suicides. Beyond that, the little girl reminded me of some of the faces at the Memorial de La Shoah's Memorial des Enfants (see entries on this blog) in Paris as well as my own daughter who often also has this same 'old head on young shoulders' wisely eerie 'been here, before' expression on her face.
My second favourite is almost like an accidental holiday snapshot of the sea front in Nice
I like the simple symmetry between what I'd guess to be - what I read to be - a mother and daughter, facing different directions: different generations with different outlooks. It speaks simply to me of the problems of growing up and staying connected to one's parents the way one was as a child: avoiding the inevitable generational dissonance. As with the other photograph, there's something raw to the colour too: this time, the blue holds all the power.
I've been in touch with Hoetzeneder over this summer and am buying a print from her of the first photograph. I love the story she told me about the photograph: who the girls are and how she took the photograph. It's going to look great alongside the Kahil and Caruccis.


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