Daughter of journalist Werner Höfer, Candida was born in 1944 in Eberswalde, in the Brandenburg region of Germany.
Along with Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth, she was the main exponent of the so-called Düsseldorf School, after being deeply influenced by the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher. She uses a documentary style to portray the interiors of public and private buildings, completely devoid of any human presence, and with a meticulous attention to decorative detail (Dresden Castle Weimar XIV).

Her first solo exhibition was held at the Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf (1975). This has been followed by many others, among  which in 2005 Candida Höfer: Architecture of absence, at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach (Florida) and the University Art Museum of Long Beach (California), and those at the Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco (2000-2001; 2003; 2005; 2008).

Along with Martin Kippenberger she represented Germany at the 2003 Venice Biennale.