Gertrud Lydia and Walter liked to travel. Walter documented the trips with diapositive photography, and he put his wife into every shot. 

But very unlike today’s selfies, where you have heads in the foreground and a bit of landscape in the background, Getrud Lydia is somewhere in the landscape, a modest figure always the same size in relation to the whole picture.

This emphasizes her surroundings: Here is Gertrud Lydia at the pool in Monaco, here in the streets of Chicago, here next to an ancient palace in India.

The diapositives from the 1950s become picture puzzles with the observer’s eye looking to spot Gertrud Lydia, maybe somewhere off to the side, almost vanishing in the landscape.

Only after his grandparents had died, did artist Thilo Hoffmann discover this photographic treasure Gertrud and Walter had left him. He chose 80 of the best diapositives and had them transformed into digital files, not just the photographic image, but also the classic broad frame diapositives used to come in. Walter had scribbled dates, locations and comments into them.

Thilo then sent the digital copy of the original slide to China to get original paintings by Chinese copycat artists, in a format of 50cm by 50cm, about 10 times the size of an original diapositive slide. 

The complete series of 80 works take you on a journey around the world and through time. On one hand, they remind the viewer of forgotten visual media such as diapositives or family photo albums. On the other hand, their production process of going from an analog original to a digital copy, then back to a handpainted original work, plays on different levels with a common thread in Thilo Hoffmann’s work: What is an original, what is a copy, and, ultimately, what is art?

Photos taken by Morris Köchle