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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Bernd & Hilla Becher

Other: Becher & Becher 
Other: Bernd and Hilla Becher 
Other: Bernd und Hilla Becher 
Includes: Bernd Becher 
Includes: Hilla Becher 
Active:  Germany
Husband and wife team of Bernd and Hilla Becher who are reknown for their austere black and white typological studies of architectural forms.

Preparing biographies

Biography provided by Focal Press 
Collaborating since the late 1950s to document industrial structures like blast furnaces, grain elevators, and water towers as archetypes. Their dispassionate photographs are organized into a series based on functional typologies and arranged into grids or rows. This reinforces the comparative sculptural properties of their subjects, which they refer to as "anonymous sculptures" and allows for an empirical cataloging of forms by function for the purpose of creating a new grammar so people can understand and compare different structures. They have been highly influential teachers and their students include Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth. 
(Author: Robert Hirsch - Independent scholar and writer) 
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409] 
(Used with permission) 

Further research

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If you have a portrait of this photographer or know of the whereabouts of one we would be most grateful.
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

Visual indexes

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Visual indexes for this photographer are available for subscribers.There is so much more to explore when you subscribe. 

Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer.Show on this siteGo to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online ( has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
Show on this siteGo to website

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.258 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
• Evans, Martin Marix (Executive ed.) 1995 Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition] (St. James Press - An International Thomson Publishing Company) [Expensive reference work but highly informative.] 
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Bernd & Hilla Becher.] 
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.82 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.241 
• Naef, Weston 1995 The J. Paul Getty Museum - Handbook of the Photographic Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum) p.159 
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