Interview: Hilda Champion
Luca Curci talks with Hilda Champion during CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
“In my photography, I look for the things I don’t see. It is the power of suggestion rather than the literal description.” Hilda Champion is a German/American fine art photographer born near Munich, Germany, and living in Naples, Florida since 2001. She was brought up in Europe but spent a big part of her adult life in South and then North America, which also gave her exposure to different regional aesthetics. Additionally, extensive travels around the globe provided opportunities to experience different cultures, appreciate the arts, and train her eye to architecture, interior and exterior. Hilda uses the camera as a tool to express ideas and emotions. Sometimes she records “reality”, but mostly perceived reality. Her aspiration in photography is less about showing the world as it is, but rather to release the poetry of the ordinary and help people see the unseen. Her goal is to show an abstraction of what she sees, free of distractions. Her images are “based on a true fantasy”. Hilda Champion’s work has been shown in national and international competitions and exhibitions and her images have won numerous awards and accolades. Some recent ones are: Tokyo International Foto Awards 2021 1 x Gold, 2 x Bronze medal, Fine Art Photography Awards 2021 3rd Place, Moscow International Foto Awards 2021 1 x Silver medal, ND Awards 2021 1 x Gold, 1 x Silver medal, Budapest International Foto Awards 2021 2x Gold, 2 x Silver, 1 x Bronze medal, PX3 Awards 2020 1 x Gold, 1 x Bronze.
Luca Curci – What’s your background?
Hilda Champion – My background is in numbers and data. I am a trained engineer, I have worked with computers all my life, for some time I traded financial derivatives, etc. – in short, the opposite of artistic work. Possibly, this is what triggered the 180 – degree turn. After all, balance is needed in life. I have always had a camera and would document my travels, but at some point, I wanted to explore photography much deeper.
LC – What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
HC – When I first saw super long exposures, I was really fascinated by them. Hiroshi Sugimoto comes to my mind, also the winter landscapes by Michael Kenna. Just the idea that you could accumulate time in a still image was mind-boggling. Until today, I love long exposure photography. It is mysterious as you never know what you get at the end, and it conveys a bit of a dream world. Your mind can travel in these images.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
HC – I started with realistic/documentary photography but quickly moved to more artistic expressions – long exposures, layering, collages. My practice continues to evolve as I discover new possibilities of expression.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
HC – My artwork is not focused on a particular theme. I photograph landscapes, architecture, abstracts – pretty much across the board. But what I really love is nature, and above all, trees. I find trees comforting, calming, and rejuvenating. To me, they also represent strength at the core coupled with lightness and tenderness in the outer areas. I am fascinated by trees, and I am the happiest among them, be it in a forest or simply standing next to a tree.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
HC – The exhibition shows a variety of my work. Photorealistic landscape (“Elements”) and nature (“Fall in the Bayou”) (trees!) shots, as well as layered images (“Forest Bathing”, “Bougainville”) and a larger conceptual project, “Evolving Lilies”, “Colors of Winter”. Overall, most of my images are minimalistic, stripped down to the essentials. In each of my images, I am expressing a feeling, an emotion, rather than a realistic representation.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
HC – Artists play numerous roles in society, from agitator to decorator, to historian, just to name a few. But the most important role that comes to my mind, is that of a director. Artists reflect on society. With their art, they aim to reshape the viewer’s world by drawing attention to specific topics. Art is a reminder to look at things from a different angle, a different perspective. In choosing the subject, the artist directs, even pushes, the viewer to engage more thoughtfully, allowing elements they were previously unaware of, to enter the viewer’s consciousness. The artist is steering this process.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
HC – I am always interested in a collaboration with others – together we are a lot stronger. Your service is certainly a valuable one, and I love how you combine all disciplines of art, from paintings to sculptures and photography, fashion, and architecture.