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Construction and Form: Photography by Bernd and Hilla Becher

A set of nine photos depicting similar framework housesFramework Houses Slate

Bernd and Hilla Becher were a German conceptual photography duo particularly known for their grid-patterned photographic multiples of buildings and industrial structures. The majority of the works from the pair are in black and white and seem to focus intently on the construction and form of man-made objects.


The duo married in 1961 when they were both working as freelance photographers for an advertising agency. Bernd had previous training in painting, while Becher had studied photography. The works they created together display a clear eye for aesthetics in all artistic realms. I enjoy the way that the photographs function not only as art pieces, but as catalogued examples of different structural and formal tropes in architecture. Seeing the way that certain forms and methods are repeated in different buildings provides interesting insight into the way that artists across all mediums rely on similar visual patterns.


A black and white photo series of water towers in the 1980'sWasserturme

The Bechers created these photographic works throughout the 60’s and 70’s, inspiring the preservation and heritage status of a number of structures. Bernd passed away in 2007 and Hilla in October of 2015. 


A black and white photograph of an industrial factory in GermanyCokery Thiessen, Duisburg, Germany

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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