Bernd and Hilla Becher

Bernd and Hilla Becher

Bernd and Hilla Becher were a German photographer team and a married couple, best- known for their collection of industrial building images examining the similarities and differences in structure and appearance.

Bernd (1931 – 2007) and Hilla (b. 1934) Becher first met at the Düsseldorf Academy. Both were studying painting at the time and in 1961, the two were married. They first collaborated on photographing and documenting the disappearing German industrial architecture in 1959, and had their first Gallery exhibition in 1963 at the Galerie Ruth Nohl in Siegen. They were fascinated by the similar shapes in which certain buildings were designed. In addition, they were intrigued by the fact that so many of these industrial buildings seemed to have been built with a great deal of attention toward design. Together, the Bechers went out with a large format camera and photographed these buildings from a number of different angles, but always with a straightforward "objective" point of view. The images of structures with similar functions were then displayed side by side to invite viewers to compare their forms and designs. These structures included barns, water towers, storage silos, and warehouses.

The Bechers also photographed outside of Germany, including buildings from the United States and other areas of Europe. Bernd taught at the Düsseldorf Art Academy and influenced students that later made a name for themselves in the photography industry. Former students of Bernd's included Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, and Candida Höfer. They were the 2004 winners of the Hasselblad Award. The motivation for the award:

:"Bernd and Hilla Becher are among the most influential artists of our time. For more than forty years they have been recording the heritage of an industrial past. Their systematic photography of functionalist architecture, often organizing their pictures in grids, brought them recognition as conceptual artists as well as photographers. As the founders of what has come to be known as the ‘Becher school’ they have brought their influence in a unique way to bear on generations of documentary photographers and artists."

Famous Photographs

* "Industrial Facade #23", c1980.
* "Cooling towers, Wood n B", 1976. (Sold for $150,000 at auction in 2004. It is one of couple's highest selling work.) [ [ Auction Result: Bernd and Hilla Becher's "Cooling towers, Wood n B"] ]


* "Anonymous Sculptures: A Typology of Technical Construction", 1970.
* "Water Towers", 1988.
* "Blast Furnaces", 1990.
* "Gas Tanks", 1993.
* "Industrial Facades", 1995.
* "Mineheads", 1997.
* "Framework Houses", 2001.
* "Industrial Landscapes", 2002.
* "Basic Forms of Industrial Buildings", 2004. ISBN 3-8296-0150-6.
* "Typologies", 2004. ISBN 0-262-02565-5.
* "Cooling Towers, 2006.
* "Grain Elevators, 2006.


*cite book |first=Lange|last=Susanne| title=Bernd and Hilla Becher: Life and Work | year=2006 | publisher=The MIT Press | id=ISBN 0-262-12286-3


External links

* [ "High precision industrial age souvenirs"] with Cornelius Tittel about how Bernd and Hilla Becher saved an era from being forgotten forever and set in motion the German photography boom at
* [ "The Photographic Comportment of Bernd and Hilla Becher" (BLAKE STIMSON) 2004 ]
* [ On German Photography Today - A dossier of the Goethe-Institut]
* [ Portrait of the artist by the Goethe-Institut]
* [ Photographers of the Becher School - A dossier of the Goethe-Institut]
* [ Bernd and Hilla Becher] , objects from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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