Bernd and Hilla Becher

Bernd and Hilla Becher were German conceptual artists and photographers working as a collaborative duo. They are best known for their photographs of industrial buildings and structures which are mostly organised in grids. Bernd and Hilla Becher have influenced generations of documentary photographers and artists. Bern Becher studied painting at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart from 1953 to 1956. They both enjoyed photographing buildings as the were drawn to the beautiful architectural beauty of them and because they were designed with such are and attention, this compelled them to photograph as many buildings as they could, showing their variety and range from different places. The Bechers also photographed outside Germany, including from 1965 buildings in Great Britain, France, Belgium and later in the United States.

Their travelling continued. They undertook a six month journey through England and South Wales in 1966, taking plenty of photographs of the coal industry around Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham and the Rhondda Valley.

Bernd Becher started teaching photography in 1976 at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (policy matters prevented Hilla’s simultaneous appointment). Before Berns started teaching, photography had been excluded from what was a school for painters. Howver he ended up influencing many students that later made a name for themselves in the photography world. Bernd shared his experiences about photography with his students, causing their knowledge to increase and develope greatly into a passion that they thought they’d never be able to fully pursue because of the rules and regulations at that time. Former students that Bernd himself taught was Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth.

Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher
Pitheads 1974
Photograph on board
unconfirmed: 1133 x 1318 mm
Purchased 1974© Bernd & Hilla Becher


The Bechers first gallery was exhibition in 1963 at the Galerie Ruth Nohl in Siegen. In the United States their work became better known with the publication of their book Anonyme Skulpturen (Anonymous Sculptures) in 1970.




Susanne, Lange (2006). Bernd and Hilla Becher: Life and Work. The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-12286-3.





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