Bernd and Hilla Becher(Established 1959)
Bernd BecherGerman (Siegen, Germany, 1931 - 2007, Rostock, Germany)
Hilla BecherGerman (Potsdam, Germany, 1934)
Hochöfen: Völklingen, Saar, Deutschland (Blast Furnace: Völklingen, Saar, Germany)
Together, Bernd and Hilla Becher have photographed thousands of industrial structures — steel mills, water towers, mines, gas tanks, and blast furnaces — "simply because they existed."
The Bechers are most interested in structures that reveal their intended functions, and they photograph them with decided straightforwardness. Their seemingly neutral yet visually distinct approach is the result of a series of deliberate choices: the use of a large-format camera to capture maximum detail; the even lighting produced by gray, overcast skies; the straight-on viewing angle; and the consistent shooting distance. The uniformity of the images invites comparison of one structure to the next, particularly when several photographs are exhibited together in specifically arranged groupings.
As photography instructors at the Staatlichen Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, Germany, the Bechers have influenced a number of students, including Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, and Candida Höfer.