Bernd & Hilla Becher Basic Forms of industrial buildings

I am a photography major and have been interning at Fall Line for a little over two months now. I find it very comforting and familiar after years of working hands on with photography that I get to unwind surrounded by photo books of the very artists I learned about in school. The Becher’s especially seemed to have followed me throughout my journey in the photo program, often hearing about them in photo history to taking my own photos inspired by them, and now I find their photo book at Fall Line Press. It feels like fate that I get to present them to you. – Portia, Fall Line Press intern

The book tells the history of Bernd and Hilla Becher, German conceptual photographers that worked as a duo, and how they became two of the most influential artists of our time. Spending a life time documenting industrial structures in Europe and later the US, their work is rooted in the history of engineering and architecture, but it also set the standards of presenting industry as an object of art.

Their work was featured in the now legendary exhibition “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-altered Landscape” which presented standpoints on the issue of industry’s imprint on landscape and culture.

The remainder of the book showcases 61 photographs of subjects like water towers, cooling towers, blast furnaces, kilns, grain elevators and many more structures in this very distinctive and recognizable style – black and white duo-tone photographs with the buildings isolated from the rest of the world, centered, filling the picture plane, as if they were scientific studies or portraits. The lighting is diffused so one may only focus on the clean and precise lines, geometric shapes, curves, textures, and linear planes.

They are known for presenting their photographs in a grid like pattern into typologies, however, for me getting to sit with each individual image is the real treat. How they glorified the order and beauty of modern industrial forms, devoid of humans, is admirable, and with every page, I feel transported to a bygone era.

Their work can be found in many collections all over, such as MOMA, the Guggenheim, The Tate, and much more, or enjoyed within this excellent book in the Fall Line Press reading room.