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Bernd Becher

Bernd Becher (1931–2007) and Hilla Becher (1934–2015) worked together as photographers beginning in 1959. Founders of the internationally acclaimed Becher class at the Dusseldorf Art Academy, they have received numerous awards, including the Golden Lion at the 1990 Venice Biennale and the 2002 Erasmus Award.

Titles by This Author

Bernd and Hilla Becher's almost fifty-year collaboration constitutes the most important project in objective and conceptual photography today. With this volume, grain elevators join the list of building types documented by the Bechers in their book-length studies: water towers, blast furnaces, gas tanks, oil tanks, mineheads, frame houses, and cooling towers.Grain elevators are towering structures in the flat, vast landscape of the world's granaries.

Bernd and Hilla Becher's photography can be considered conceptual art, typological study, and topological documentation. Their work can be linked to the Neue Sachlichkeit movement of the 1920s and to such masters of German photography as Karl Blossfeldt, August Sander, and Albert Renger-Patzsch. Their photographs documenting the architecture of industrial structures, taken over the course of forty years, make up the most important body of work to be found in independent objective photography.

Bernd and Hilla Becher's photography can be considered conceptual art, typological study, and topological documentation. Their work can be linked to the Neue Sachlichkeit movement of the 1920s and to such masters of German photography as Karl Blossfeldt, August Sander, and Albert Renger-Patzsch. Their photographs of industrial structures, taken over the course of forty years, are the most important body of work in independent objective photography.

Bernd and Hilla Becher have profoundly influenced the international photography world over the past several decades. Their unique genre, which falls somewhere between topological documentation and conceptual art, is in line with the aesthetics of such early-twentieth-century masters of German photography as Karl Blossfeldt, Germaine Krull, Albert Renger-Patzsch, and August Sander.

Bernd and Hilla Becher have profoundly influenced the international photography world over the past several decades. Their unique genre, which falls somewhere between topological documentation and conceptual art, is in line with the aesthetics of such early-twentieth-century masters of German photography as Karl Blossfeldt, Germaine Krull, Albert Renger-Patzsch, and August Sander. Framework Houses, their first and most famous book, was originally published in Germany in 1977 and quickly went out of print.

Since 1959 Bernd and Hilla Becher have been obsessively photographing imperiled industrial structures such as pit-head frames, water towers, blast furnaces, cooling towers, gas tanks, and silos. As documenters of the industrial era in Europe and the United States--an era now drawing to a close--they are not only photographers, but "industrial archaeologists," salvaging testimonies of past developments in the form of "readable" documents for posterity.

The more than two hundred striking duotone plates in Hilla and Bernd Becher's Industrial Facades continue the famousD?orf photographers' formal investigation of industrial structures, in this case the frontal elevations of factory buildings. Like the Bechers' earlier books on water towers, blast furnaces, and gas tanks, Industrial Facades once again clearly displays their serenely cool, rigorous approach to the structures they photograph as vaariations on an ideal form. The Bechers make no attempt to analyze or explain their subjects.

The Bechers' industrial vision has become an essential part of the way we see today; their head-on, deadpan photographs of pithead gear and water towers and blast furnaces have for more than 30 years expressed a serenely cool, rigorous approach that reduces the individual structures they photograph to variations on an ideal form.

Typological, repetitive, at times oddly humorous, Bernd and Hilla Becher's photographs of industrial structures are, in their cumulative effect, profoundly moving.

Hilla and Bernd Becher's cool, objective photographs of industrial structures have earned them a special position in international photography. Although their work is widely collected by American dealers and institutions and shown in New York galleries, this is the first time that it has been published in book form in the United States.The Bechers' 224 photographs of watertowers comprise a unique, single minded, even obsessive mission.