Hobbes Ginseberg is a 20-year-old Los Angeles-based photographer who doesn’t want to make a big deal about their gender but prefers the pronouns she or they. They moved to Seattle after completing high school, and a year and a half after that followed their dreams to Hollywood. We met when I was in LA visiting artists on official VICE business last month, and I was immediately struck by Hobbes’s alert, inquisitive presence. After having known each other for no more than five minutes, we decided we should work together on an issue of MATTEmagazine to be released at the New York Art Book Fair this week at MoMA PS1, and went to the roof of the hotel, where I made the above cover portrait. I only had four frames left on my roll of film, but somehow each picture turned out to be interesting. Hobbes is someone who uses their self-image as their art, so this wasn’t actually that surprising. A mix of politically engaged self-portraiture in photography in the tradition of Catherine Opie, Cobain-scented soft grunge internet phenomena, and something indescribably glamourous and completely their own, Hobbes’s Selfies made me want to find out more about them.
VICE: How did you start taking pictures?
Hobbes Ginsberg: I used to do a lot of street photography. Taking pictures started for me on a trip to New York in the summer of 2010 and I had this “professional” point-and-shoot camera that I borrowed from a friend. I started taking photos of all the people I saw on the street who interested me visually. I had a vague idea of what street photography was at that point from deviantART, and on that trip I saw an exhibition by Henri Cartier-Bresson and some other old guy I dont remember. It took off from there. I did a lot of street work in Nicaragua.
When did you start taking pictures of yourself?
About two years ago I stopped shooting outside for a long time, and felt a need to turn inward so I just took a ton of selfies. It was easier for me to try new things that way. I borrowed some lights from the yearbook team at my school, and thats how I first got into studio work.
What kind of role does taking pictures of yourself play in your life?
In terms of my oeuvre, most people care the most about my selfies, and its what cemented my current aesthetic. It also the work I make that is the most cathartic for me. I get into these moods where I feel really shitty, and the way to fix it is to take photos.
angel friend livin the glam life
HOBBES KILLING IT
Lives in Los Angeles, CA.
From her Alphabang interview:
I think the photos kind of inform my identity as much as my identity informs the photos in the sense that I’m a very aesthetic-based person and so I’ll often try out something for myself in a picture before I wear it in everyday life. In the photos I try to go for something that’s very much kind of ridiculous and very bright and very much ‘there’ and using photography is the way I feel most comfortable confronting those identities- especially when there’s conflicting identities.
From her txt blog:
i think my photos feel more like paintings to me
i am scared that nothing i create is original / worthwhile
i am scared because when i consume media i think / talk in its voice for hours afterwards
i was scared that reading tao lin would make me feel crazy like the time i read catcher in the rye in high school and i was positive i was going to end up in a mental hospital like holden but mostly i miss matthew donahoo
And buy one of Hobbess’ zines- http://hhobbess.tumblr.com/post/91203079393/monthly-zine-issue-1-june-2014-24-pg-on !!! It is great.
wow !!! i just saw that i was featured on one of the coolest blogs out there forvivian <3
thank you so much, im honored to be in such great company
be sure to check out all the other amazing photographers that have been featured here, a lot of my all time favs
Me and Tim Making Faces, Mission, April 2014 by Vivian Fu
portrait of the artist as a young queer
April 24, 2014
very excited to announce the revamp of my website !! hobbesginsberg.com
go take a peek at the new selections and tell all your friends to hire me
Zanele Muholi: Of Love & Loss (2014) - Currently showing at Stevenson Gallery in Johannesberg (South Africa) from 14 February - 4 April 2014.
The opening coincides with the presentation of a prestigious Prince Claus Award to Muholi.
In times of increasingly homophobic legislation enacted by African countries and in a climate of intolerance towards homosexuals in the Western world, South Africa distinguishes itself with a Constitution that recognises same-sex marriages; yet the black LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) community is plagued by hate crimes. Black lesbians are particularly vulnerable and are regularly victims of brutal murders and ‘curatives rapes’ at the hand of neighbours or ‘friends’.
Since 2013 Muholi has been documenting weddings and funerals in the black LGBTI community in South Africa, joyful and painful events that often seem to go hand in hand. The show features photographs, video works and an installation highlighting how manifestations of sorrow and celebration bear similarities and are occasions to underline the need for a safe space to express individual identities.
As Muholi writes:Ayanda Magoloza and Nhlanhla Moremi’s wedding in Katlehong took place four months after Duduzile Zozo was murdered in Thokoza. Promise Meyer and Gift Sammone’s wedding in Daveyton took place on 22 December in Daveyton, 15 days after Maleshwane Radebe was buried in Ratanda. Six months earlier, Ziningi and Delisile Ndlela were married in Chesterville, Durban. Many in the area attended the ceremony, blessed the newlywed couple and prayed for them and their children. We long for such blessings as we continue to read about the trials and tribulations that LGBTI persons experience in their churches, where homosexuality is persecuted. In 2014, when South African democracy celebrates its 20 years, it seems more important than ever to raise again our voice against hate crimes and discriminations made towards the LGBTI community.
The exhibition includes also a series of autobiographical images, intimate portraits of Muholi and her partner taken during their travels, a tender counterpoint to the tension still generated in South Africa today by same-sex and interracial relationships.
This series of images by South African photographer Mamaki Rakotsoana is a project in which she took her deceased father’s photographs and reproduced them in a manner that investigates her relationship to him, as well as his relationship to the women in his life.
[look of the hour]
To those of you who have already emailed us to express your interest in working with us on The Secrets Women Keep Project, thank you for sharing your secrets with us with such grace and honesty.
We will be extending the application deadline to WEDNESDAY 2ND APRIL at 5pm so if you are thinking about applying, please do get in touch before then.
We would also like to highlight the following points:
- The workshops are open to all women of colour between the ages of 18 - 24 irrespective of your artistic experience.
- The workshops are specifically aimed at women of colour between the ages of 18-24, however older applicants who specifically detail why they would like to be considered may be selected.
- Please be aware that workshop spaces are limited to 7 participants.
- Successful applicants will be contacted on Friday 4th April 2014.
For more information on how to apply click here
Check out Indigo’s SWK video here
And check out the ‘A Different Mirror’ exhibition website here
Lesley & Indigo