Bernd and Hilla Becher


Bernd and Hilla Becher were two German photographers whose systematic documentation of their country’s industrial landscape has served as the basis for an entire school of contemporary photography. In their “typologies”—series of objective black-and-white photos—the Bechers sought to illuminate and catalogue the similarities and variations in design among particular building types, such as framework houses, water towers, and blast furnaces.


Exhibited in groups, the prints encourage comparison of form and function, and hint at the history and context of each structure. The signature neutrality of each image demanded exacting camera angles and light conditions, their methods drawing from both architectural and landscape tradition and broadening the conceptual range and potential of documentary photography.


The pair’s style has influenced a generation of photographers now known as the Düsseldorf School, which notably includes Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth.