Complete Unpredictability - Jacobi Hoff’s Multiple Exposures
Photographer Jacobi Hoff comments on mental health to phenomenal effect by using multiple exposures. This series of photos are a beautiful and eerie journey through our urban landscape and an insight into the collective perspective of our generation.
How did you get involved in photography/design?
I think it has a lot to do with being so fascinated with skateboarding at a pretty young age and then in my later years I moved onto graffiti. Although they were two passions of mine that I never really excelled at, I still always had a good time with it. They were two past times of mine that I always saw in this real unique way, they make you look at everyday objects in a different way to how another person would.
I’d say I actually developed a genuine interest in photography around the start of 2017 when I bought my first digital camera. But it wasn't till almost a year later that I really started to take it seriously, I had just moved back to Dublin after living abroad for the best part of two years. Was in a pretty down state for a while and needed to find something productive and creative to focus on or I was just going to be getting myself into trouble. I had bought a film camera like a week before my flight home, so I started off with that and I've been pushing it ever since.
You put double or triple exposures to eye catching use in your photos. Why this stylistic choice?
For me, I like to shoot mostly with multiple exposure because I see it as a way of addressing mental health, something that’s not addressed enough in this country. What’s great about shooting on film and with multiple exposures is the beauty that can come from the complete unpredictability of the outcome, which is why I feel it relates to mental health. Never knowing how your going to feel when you wake up each day and what state you will be at by the end of it. Kind of the same with the exposures, I can plan out each photo as precisely as I possibly can, but I can never predict the final outcome until its developed, the finished product can either be a high or a low.
For a lot of my photos that I post, the majority of the captions they are linked with are really personal to me. It could be the name of an antidepressant, what the milligram was, something completely different like the title of a King Krule song like ‘Neptune Estate’ or the chorus to a DOOM track.
Many of your photos are elements of Dublin, contrasted with silhouettes of your mates on the float. What themes or images do you enjoy shooting best and how do you decide what to shoot?
I don’t usually leave the gaff with the intention of just shooting, unlike most photographers I know. I just bring a camera out with me basically everywhere I go and take shots of whatever looks interesting to me. When I’m working with multiple exposures, I make notes of every photo I've taken in a little note book or just on my phone, so I always have a reference and I know exactly what part of the roll I'm shooting over. So, when it comes down to it, I just shoot as I go, regardless of what it is I find the unpredictability of both shooting on film and with multiple exposures to be one of the reasons I love it so much. When you ask about my inclusion of my mates and elements of Dublin in my photos, it’s because that’s who I'm with and Dublin is where I'm at, so they get included in my work.
Do you have any specific influences or inspirations?
The people I surround myself with on a regular basis definitely have a serious influence on me and the work that I've been producing, I’m really lucky that most of my closest friends are all incredible artists in so many different platforms. Graffiti writers, photographers, actors and musicians to name a few. To be honest, anyone that has ever had anything positive to say to me regarding my photos has influenced me a lot just to keep going and trying to get better roll by roll.
I get a lot of my inspiration from music, mostly 90s hip-hop when I'm out taking the photos, sometimes artists like Floating Points or Mount Kimble give me a heap of ideas for multiple exposures.
In relation to photographers, Maya Beano and Brian Cross would have to be up there as my favourites of all time. Maya Beano takes the most incredibly photos, a lot of multiple exposures as well, but hers are proper next level! While Brian Cross, takes the sickest portraits ever, he's living the lifestyle I could only dream for, he's taken photos for Ol Dirty Bastard, Biggie, J Dilla and Outkast, just to name a few. He's actually a close friend of my uncles, he made a real influence on me and it was a serious honour to get to meet him, he gave us a roll of kodak Portra 400 as well, which is deadly like.
Would you ever consider expanding a series into a larger project?
Yeah for sure, I’m always up for collaborating with people if the project and concept seem like it’s going in the right direction, hopefully more will start to come about in the near future. Hopefully someday I get an opportunity to have some of my work up in a gallery for an exhibition. To be honest I haven't really been thinking of big picture ideas at the moment, my heads been really scattered lately and want to get it back inline before I start thinking bigger, just hoping to improve on the craft for the time being. Although getting to shoot some more hip-hop gigs would definitely be up there at the moment.
Do you have any projects, plans or ambitions for the future?
To be honest, I never really plan things out much in advance because I never really know where I'm going to be at in a few months’ time from now. All I've planned is to travel as much as possible, meet new and strange people and just enjoy what I'm doing with myself as much as I can.
Hopefully I’ll be selling prints rather than just getting them done for one of the lads as a birthday present and all that jazz, it would be unbelievable if I could start making a bit of money for the photos I've been putting out over the last year, ideally they will be at a way higher level in a couple of months from now. Although, I’ve got a couple new ideas for a few double exposure projects that I’d like to start working on as soon as I can, also I really need to start focusing a lot on portraits and landscape shots.
I’ve been talking with a couple mates about a few little projects that may pop over the next year or so, so that could be something worth looking out for. A new page may be about towards the end of this summer, it'll have a slightly different direction to photography as opposed to the one I'm currently posting from. For the future though, having a piece or two to show at a few different exhibitions would be sweet. Hopefully, get my own one day but who knows.
Ideally, I’ll be doing this for as long as I possibly can and it'll be something I’ll be remembered for.
Take a trip through a multi-layered Dublin perspective in the gallery below. You can catch Jacobi over on Instagram here.