Candida Höfer was born in 1944 in Eberswalde, Germany, a town situated northeast of Berlin. Having expressed interest in photography during childhood, Höfer first began her career at the age of nineteen as an apprentice at a photography atelier that dealt with advertisements, architecture, and fashion. She entered the Kölner Werkschulen (Cologne Academy of Fine and Applied Arts) in 1964 and studied art and photography, and worked as a freelance photographer upon graduation. She later attended the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, one of the most influential European educational institutions at the time in 1973, where she initially studied film under Ole John. In 1976 she was accepted into Bernd Becher’s first photography class, studying alongside contemporaries Axel Hütte, Thomas Struth, Thomas Ruff, Tata Ronkholz, Petra Wunderlich, and Andreas Gursky – later collectively referred to as the first generation of the “Becher class.” Having already been the subject of gallery exhibitions in the late 1970s, Candida Höfer has spent decades expanding and redefining the boundaries of her practice. She not only photographs the interior spaces of public venues, but also conducts serial projects with specific subjects such as On Kawara’s Date Paintings and the twelve casts of Auguste Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais, documenting how they are placed in their respective collections, along with photographing the interiors and exteriors of the architectural feats of Herzog & de Meuron.
Widely exhibited around the world through innumerable solo and group exhibitions, Candida Höfer’s works have been shown at Documenta 11 (2002) in Kassel, Germany, as well as having represented Germany alongside Martin Kippenberger at the national pavilion of the 50th edition of Venice Biennale (2003) in Italy. Höfer was the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Photography award by the World Photography Organisation’s Sony World Photography Awards in April of 2018. Her works can be found in major collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, and the Friedrich Christian Flick Foundation in Zürich. Candida Höfer currently resides and practices in Cologne.