Photographer In Focus: Marina Hoppmann

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Born and raised in Cologne and now living in Berlin, Marina Hoppmann has worked with Die Zeit and PW Magazine all while working on personal projects simultaneously. Her latest long-term project Mothers and Daughters has now been also published as a zine.

There’s a unique softness you can see in Marina’s images and it’s fascinating how she’s using her camera as a tool to express vulnerable topics.

We’re curious to know how it all began – how did you get your start in this art medium?

I grew up in Cologne, in quite a manual and creative household. My mother was a furniture conservator, my father is a woodwind maker and my brother is a graphic designer. Both my parents were self-employed and had their own workshops right next to each other. This had a big impact on me.

When I graduated from High school I did some internships as a styling assistant. Because I didn’t really know what to do next I did an orientation year at Zhdk in Zurich. And after this started my studies in visual communication. 

interviewing a photographer

During my studies at art school I tried a lot of different fields. Everything from ceramics to photography and sculpture. But photography was the one medium I always got back to.

I really love how the camera gives me the chance to meet all different kinds of people and dive into whatever topic fascinates me.

How would you describe your photography ?

In my artistic practice I aim to visualize vulnerability as strength – not looking for the perfect picture but for emotions, exchange and self-reflection. My longterm projects are strongly related to my own history and life experiences.

You released a zine last year called Mothers and Daughters. Can you tell us more about the whole process of creating the work and how it has shaped you personally?

I lost my mother when I was seventeen and I knew I wanted to make a project about her and about this pain of loss, for quite some time. In the beginning I didn’t know how and felt too vulnerable to start the project.

But I had this strong longing for exchange and felt the urge to talk to women who have suffered the same loss and who might have similar feelings. I have a lot of clothes from my mother, in which I feel really safe and close to her.

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This led me to the idea to take a portrait with her, with her on my mind and with her clothes on my body. I wanted to honor and visualize our relationship, even if she’s not around anymore..

It was a really beautiful and emotional process of us exchanging our experiences and in the meantime taking the pictures.

What’s most important for me is that other persons concerned see it and feel lifted and understood. But I also want to sensitize others and clarify that mourning is totally ok and no-one should ever be ashamed of it, no matter how much time has passed.

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What camera do you use?

Pentax 645, Mamiya RZ67

What inspires you at the moment and how does it translate into your work?

I’m inspired by photographers who are investing their time in personal projects and who are detached from trends and communicate something that concerns them personally

What qualities you feel a photographer should have to be able to succeed?

This really depends and is super individual. I think everyone has different approaches and different goals or things they want to communicate with their work. 

For me personally persistence is quite important — to keep on going even if you have doubts about your work. 

interviewing a photographer

Can you walk us through your creative process?

When working on my personal projects the creative process begins with meeting the people I want to photograph. Especially for my Mothers and Daughters project I think it’s very important to get to know each other and to build trust before the shooting. 

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I see myself working on topics that fascinate me and working with people that soothe and inspire me at the same time.

Marina Hoppmann is a photographer and visual artist. In her artistic practice she aims to visualize vulnerability as strength – not looking for the perfect picture but for real emotions, exchange and self-reflection. Her longterm projects are strongly related to her own history and life experiences.


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