Since 1959 Bernd and Hilla Becher have been obsessively photographing imperiled industrial structures such as pit-head frames, water towers, blast furnaces, cooling towers, gas tanks, and silos. As documenters of the industrial era in Europe and the United States—an era now drawing to a close—they are not only photographers, but "industrial archaeologists," salvaging testimonies of past developments in the form of "readable" documents for posterity. At the same time, the Bechers could also be called conceptual artists, as their photographs reveal the meaning and transformative character of structure.
The Bechers spent two decades searching industrial regions of Western Europe and North America for mineheads. These delicate giants stand over the shaft entrances of mines, housing the cages attached to cables that move up and down the mine shaft, bringing minerals to the surface and transferring miners back and forth from underground.
Regardless of their subject, the Bechers' photographic technique has remained constant for decades. Eschewing dramatic lighting effects, they shoot under overcast skies, framing their subject in the center of the picture and shooting from a slightly raised standpoint. The effect of their cool, rigorous approach is to reduce the individual structures they photograph within each typological category to morphological studies executed with artful neutrality. Their single-minded vision, signature style, and photographic identity have influenced an entire generation of younger photographers and have had a major impact on the worlds of conceptual art, architecture, sculpture, and criticism.
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Bernd and Hilla Becher have collaborated since 1959. Founders of the internationally acclaimed Becher class at the Dusseldorf Art Academy, they have received numerous awards, including the Golden Lion at the 1990 Venice Biennale and the 2002 Erasmus Award. Bernd Becher retired as Professor at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art in 1999.Review:
Here is a ravishing work of obsession.... One leafs through the pages of the book and can almost hear the echo of the numberless men who toiled deep underground.... Today, the mineheads stand, like so many enigmatic Easter Island monuments, as a kind of elegy to the now broken beauty of the world of our forefathers, whose labor and ingenuity are eloquently present in every photograph of this remarkable and moving book. -- The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review, Steve Wasserman
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Book Description The MIT Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine (-). Bernd and Hilla Becher (illustrator). 1st Edition, Thus. As New collectible title. As documenters of the industrial era, the Bechers spent two decades searching industrial regions of Western Europe and North America for mineheads. 197 pp., 190 black/white photographs. This Fine copy has a tight binding and is apparently unused. Internally the pages are clean and bright, without markings. DJ NF(-) with slight shelfwear, soiling on spine and slight age tanning. There is a small puncture on the crease of the front cover. DJ is now protected in an archival mylar cover and price lowered accordingly. Size: 11-3/4 x 11 Inches. Bookseller Inventory # 10-400044
Book Description The MIT Press, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110262024306
Book Description MIT Press, Cumberland, Rhode Island, U.S.A., 1997. Cloth. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. As new, never been opened, in original pub shrinkwrap. Probably won't find one in this shape. The industrial photos of the Bernd and Hilla Becher in a wonderful tall oversized publuication, a mint copy in dj and pub;lioshe's shrink. Size: 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 022178