Influence or Coincidence: Bernd and Hilla Becher


After a dip into the pool with Franco Fontana a few weeks ago, this week’s installment of Influence or Coincidence dives into the cold and foggy German winter. Read on to find out more about photography’s star couple Bernd and Hilla Becher and of course, who on Lomography got closest to their style.

Bernd and Hilla Becher, Blast Furnace, Youngstown Ohion, 1983 via C4 Gallery

Bernd and Hilla Becher’s names are very closely associated with monochrome photographs of industrial edifices. Ranging from water towers to chimneys to blast furnaces and mineheads, the Bechers travelled the world documenting a dying species of architecture.

Bernd and Hilla Becher, Water Towers, 1980-89, via C4 Gallery

What started off with a hint of nostalgia towards Bernd Becher’s hometown soon grew into an obsessive documentation which lasted 45 years.

Mind you, do not fall for the simplicity of these images. Neither one is a quick point and shoot job. Without getting into the compositional merits of each shot, let us stop for a moment and notice how plain the backdrop often is. Fog. The Bechers very often photographed during the cold season in low light conditions to maximise long exposures and avoid overly bushy trees ruining a picture. And yes, often, they also waited for fog to cloud that which they wanted left out of the horizon.

Bernd and Hilla Becher, Gas Tanks, 1983-92 via C4 Gallery

I think we all agree that the Bechers’ photographs are mesmerising. Especially when they are presented in a series — as they are more often than not. The series presentation gives the photos strength. At once, they are a whole, yet uncannily individual. Like in a spot the difference game, you will find yourself examining the neighbouring shots for similarities and disparities — and it is at that very moment that you can consider yourself captured by their beauty.

Bernd and Hilla Becher, Blast Furnaces, 1980-88 via C4 Gallery

It was pretty tough to call out one particular photo this week. But I did and you’ll find the one selected below this gallery of runners up:

Credits: graefin, ellipirelli, camerao, -sarah-, moodification & tommynorth

Well done racarrete!

Credits: racarrete

See you next week and if you’re still hungry to find out more about Bernd and Hilla Becher, you can watch these:

written by webo29 on 2012-02-17 #videos #lifestyle #industrial #industry #dusseldorf #germany #influence-or-coincidence #regular-contributor #bernd-and-hilla-becher


  1. webo29
    webo29 ·

    @graefin, @ellipirelli, @camerao, @-sarah-, @artichekt, @moodification, @tommynorth and of course @racarrete - well done :)

  2. moodification
    moodification ·

    Hey, thanks for choosing my picture! ;-)

  3. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    Some of the factory shots done by @why-yu deserve to be among these.

  4. webo29
    webo29 ·

    @emperornorton - have you got a link? can't seem to find them

  5. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    I was thinking of some of her abandoned warehouse shots:… For some reason, I thought she had more....Old age on my part?

  6. why-yu
    why-yu ·

    @emperornorton thanks! :) maybe my series of FWL is more like the style. cool article!

  7. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    @why-yu I always think of you as a sensitive industrial photographer. Maybe you can share some of your favorites with @webo29 ?

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