Bernd and Hilla Becher: Life and Work
Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2007.
Bernd and Hilla Becher's lifetime project of documenting the industrial landscape of our time secures their position in the canon of postwar photographers. Their work—at once conceptual art, typological study, and topological documentation—has influenced German photographers of a younger generation, including Thomas Struth, Thomas Demand, Candida Hofer, Thomas Ruff, and Andreas Gursky. This compelling, exhaustively documented biography describes the Bechers' life and work and offers a critical assessment of their place in the history of photography.
Becher scholar Susanne Lange, granted access to the photographers' archives and quoting extensively from interviews with them, writes the first sustained analysis and biography of the Bechers' extraordinary partnership. She discusses, among other topics, both the functionalist and aesthetic dimensions of the Bechers' subject matter, their typologizing (which she finds reminiscent of nineteenth-century naturalists' classificatory schemes), and the anonymous industrial building style favored by German architects. She argues that industrial building types impose themselves on our consciousness as the cathedral did on that of the Middle Ages, and that the Bechers' photographs—which seem at first glance only to record a vanishing landscape—serve to examine this shaping of our perceptions. Their work provides us with a rare opportunity to see how we see.
Bernd and Hilla Becher: Life and Work, with 53 duotone plates and more than 200 additional illustrations, is the first book to delve deeply into the sources and vision behind the evocative and melancholy beauty of the Bechers' work. It will be indispensable both as a reference for students of postwar German photography and as a guide for readers who want to know how to approach the Bechers' monumental project.
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The Image of Industry
The Spread of Industrial Architecture
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aesthetic Anonyme Skulpturen artistic August Sander Bauten Belgium Berlin Bernd & Hilla Bernd and Hilla Bernd Becher Bernhard and Hilla blast furnace Blossfeldt Bochum camera Center century coal Collection Cologne construction Contemporary Art context cooling towers d'Art documentation Dortmund Dusseldorf early engine Essen Eugene Atget example exhibition factory halls Figure Fotografie France frontal functional gasometers Germany grain silos graphs half-timbered houses Hilla Becher images included individual industrial architecture industrial buildings industrial landscapes industrial region Jahrhundert Kunst Kunsthalle Kunstverein lime kilns mines Modern Art motifs Munich Museum of Art Museum of Modern objects oeuvre painting Paris Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung photographs Ruhr region Sammlung Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur Schirmer/Mosel shapes shots Siegen Siegerland Sol LeWitt Sonnabend Gallery Stadtische structures tableaus technical tion tographed typologies unpaginated venues Verlag views visual Walker Evans water towers winding towers York Zeche