Bernd BECHERHilla BECHER, No. one, Winding towers: the first of a group of 16 panels. Enlarge 1 /1

On display on Level 2

Bernd BECHER

Germany 1931 – 2007

Hilla BECHER

Germany 1934 – 2015

No. one, Winding towers: the first of a group of 16 panels. 1978 Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Dimensions: printed image 30.4 h x 40.4 w cm mount 40.5 h x 50.7 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1979
Accession No: NGA 80.425.1

During a collaboration of almost fifty years, Bernd and Hilla Becher became internationally renowned for their typological studies. These are black-and-white photographs of variant examples of a single type of industrial structure exhibited in grids. Bernd’s family had worked in the steel and mining industries in the Ruhr Valley and this area was their initial focus – though later they travelled widely. They brought a rigorous discipline to their practice. Each building was shot from a similar position, despite the difficulties such an approach presented. They went out with a large 8 x 10-inch view camera and photographed only on overcast days, so as to avoid shadows, and only early in the morning during spring and autumn.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Across a fifty-year collaboration, the Bechers became internationally renowned for their typological studies: black-and-white photographs of variant examples of industrial structures that had become obsolete. They brought a rigorous discipline to their practice, perhaps best expressed in the standardised format of each picture and the way that images from a given typology are presented in a grid. Using an 8x10-inch view camera, each building was shot from a similar position; the Bechers photographed only on overcast days to avoid shadows, and early in the morning during spring and autumn.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra