100 top photographers

Bernd & Hilla Becher


PhotoUtopia Intro: The Bechers believe in maximising the minimal truth value of photography. If you want to be expressive then use paint, they would say. For what lens based art has, that no other medium possesses, is the ability to capture reality. But be warned this ability is frail and easily distorted. An example of this frailty might be described thus, a press shot is taken of Marilyn Monroe or rather the character she plays in, ‘How to Marry a Millionaire,' but now that image floats around the internet, no longer attached to its original purpose (a magazine article publicising the film), but now just proclaimed to be a portrait of Monroe. The Bechers would argue that this is the ultimate fate of all photographs, for them to loose their context, and as such it is our role as photographers to make sure they tell as much truth as possible. The Bechers do this by taking their images form the same height and angle, on bright but overcast days, with no contemporary items, such as cars, in the pictures. Thus you are left with just the object to compare, no dramatic weather to make the scene foreboding or romantic, nothing to distract; these images are then shown as ‘typologies’ or sets of objects of the same class or type; thus allowing for undistracted comparison.


A Bernd Becher (born August 20, 1931 in Siegen; died June 22, 2007 in Rostock) and Hilla Becher, née Wobeser (born September 2, 1934 in Potsdam) were a German artist couple, best known for their photographic images of industrial buildings.
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.

Other site: Tate Musuem
Other site 2: http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/95
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