This week Sara from Brown Paper Bag takes us to the German landscape through the eyes of photographer duo Bernd and Hilla Becher. Documenting various architectural structures and arranging them into “typologies,” the couple transforms the context of ordinary industrial buildings simply by rearranging them. In a strangely similar vein, I wrote about the sets & inanimate objects in Chinese shadow puppetry! I guess we were on a “look a bit closer at your environment” kick without even knowing it!
German artists Bernd and Hilla Becher began working together in 1959 and married in 1961. The couple is best known for their photographic work focusing on stuctures and arranged “typologies,” a term to describe the ordered set of photographs.
Typology was an excellent way to group their work, as it primarily focused on industrial structures such as mines, mills, and other large systematic constructions. Compositions were shot in a frontal, straightforward viewpoint to give the work an “objective” point of view.
The typologies that Bernd and Hilla shot and arranged have an interesting dichotomy. On one hand, there is a certain banality to them; the couple would shoot film on overcast days to further enforce this objective point of view – no shadows. But, where there is a direct approach to showcasing architecture and structures, they are not only presented as specimens but make it possible for the viewer to marvel the sheer construction and design.