Woman Crush Wednesday: Elisabeth Hogeman
Interview by Jiaqi Zhang
Project: Temporary Arrangement
How do you come up with "Temporary Arrangement" and what is your inspiration?
I’m interested in the genre of still life and conventions of staging domestic space. The title “Temporary Arrangement” refers to the temporary nature of a space created so that it can be rendered, transported, and consumed. Within this convention utilitarian objects are stripped of their utility and selected for their capacity to embody pleasure, fantasy, exoticism, memory, or comfort. I’m interested in the artificial nature of these spaces and in considering the picture of domestic space as an object. I work with layered imagery that is flat and illusory, repetitively incorporating elements in multiple configurations, focusing on the difference between inhabiting physical and virtual space and how this relates to picturing space.
What does your creation process look like?
The initial photographs are made quickly, using the camera to accumulate visual material to work with. I take pictures of pictures of interior space, culled from home/architecture/design magazines, or I cannibalize my own photographs. The collage aspect is very temporary—none of the materials I work with are affixed, but instead are laid loosely on top of one another. This way I can move materials to where I find strong light to create harsh shadows between cutouts and I can improvise different arrangements to generate a variety of spatial compositions. This provides me with a library of modular units that I continue to reconfigure and stack digitally. Then new modular elements are printed out and rearranged again in physical space along with typical still life objects, feeding back into that library of digitalized material. I guess the process is a bit like making anything fermented. I need an initial image to provide the living cultures, and from there I try to grow more.
You use many geometric shapes in your photography, could you tell us what message you want to convey through these shapes?
The geometry comes out of the process of stacking pictures, fragmenting, enlarging, reprinting, and repeating elements. These abstractions provide a backdrop or scaffolding for the domestic tableau while engaging with contradictions of rendered space—compact and mostly empty, flat and dimensional, claustrophobic and bright. I’m also trying to tap into a dialogue with cubist still life paintings.
Describe your creative process in one word.
If you could teach a one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
I currently teach BW Photography courses. I love being in the darkroom with students workshopping silver prints, and my favorite assignment to give is where students have to invade the privacy of a fictional character. If I could teach any course of my own design, it would be an Experiments in Portraiture course where students work across media, incorporating video, sound, photography, painting, and collage.
What is the last book your read or film you watch that inspired you?
The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. I’m drawn to the way repetition operates within her writing, both within individual stories and across volumes of work. Some of my favorite stories include Fives Signs of Disturbance, A Second Chance, A Natural Disaster, Thyroid Diary, Old Mother and the Grouch, and Examples of Confusion.
What is the most played song in your music library?
Frank Ocean’s Ivy. 102 plays. Last played mid 2017.
How do you take your coffee?
Usually black, or if I have leftover coffee, iced with whole milk.
More of Elisabeth's work can be found on her website here.