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artist feature: bernd and hilla becher

Emily Oster

I was first introduced to the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher in grad school. I had almost forgotten about their amazing photographs until a recent conversation jogged my memory. The German duo, a husband and wife team, began shooting industrial structures in the 1960s. Referring to their work as typologies, they developed a rigorous way of shooting to emphasize the similar formal qualities of structures types.  Objects of interest included water towers, frame houses, coal tipples, cooling towers, grain elevators and other examples of industrial architecture.

The Bechers legacy is extensive - influencing a whole generation of photographers which is now referred to as the 'Becher School'. Bernd died in 2007 but Hilla continues to work rearranging existing photographs into new presentations. Below are a few examples taken from their huge body of work.

 Bernd and Hilla Becher - Stoneworks, 1982 - 1992 -  Sonnabend Gallery

Bernd and Hilla Becher - Stoneworks, 1982 - 1992 - Sonnabend Gallery

 Bernd and Hilla Becher - Industrial Facades, 2012 -  Sonnabend Gallery

Bernd and Hilla Becher - Industrial Facades, 2012 - Sonnabend Gallery

 Bernd and Hilla Becher - Grain Elevators -  Sonnabend Gallery

Bernd and Hilla Becher - Grain Elevators - Sonnabend Gallery

 Bernd and Hilla Becher - Watertowers (Temple) -  Sonnabend Gallery

Bernd and Hilla Becher - Watertowers (Temple) - Sonnabend Gallery

 Bernd and Hilla Becher - Framework Houses, 2011 -  Sonnabend Gallery

Bernd and Hilla Becher - Framework Houses, 2011 - Sonnabend Gallery