Bernd Becher
Hilla Becher
Blast Furnace: View 2, Völklingen, Saar, Germany, 1986; printed 1989

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.

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Blast Furnace: View 2, Völklingen, Saar, Germany
Artist names
Bernd BecherHilla Becher
Date created
1986; printed 1989
gelatin silver print
24 in. × 20 in. (60.96 cm × 50.8 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Accessions Committee Fund purchase
© Estate of Bernd and Hilla Becher
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

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