“All we did was to turn back the time to a photography of precision which is superior to the human eye.” – Bernd Becher
“We don’t agree with the depiction of buildings in the ‘20s and 1930s. Things were seen either from above or below which tended to monumentalize the object. This was exploited in terms of a socialistic view—a fresh view of the world, a new man, a new beginning.” – Bernd and Hilla Becher
Bernd and Hilla Becher spent their careers working as a creative couple. They are renowned for their photographic documentation of industrial structures such as water towers, coal bunkers, factories, silos, and gas tanks across Europe and North America. In extensively documenting these subjects, the Bechers created a typology of these buildings. In order to do this, each of their subjects was always photographed in exactly the same way. They worked exclusively in black and white, and produced works which are devoid of figures. Their signature repetition encourages viewers to engage deeply with the formal qualities and subject matter of the work, rather than focusing on the photographic medium. Bernd and Hilla Becher’s close examination of these structures suggest to their audiences that they merit further scrutiny. The pair served as professors of photography at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, and influenced a generation of photographers including Candida Höfer, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth, among many others.
German, Bernd Becher 1931-2007 & Hilla Becher 1934-2015