The legendary Bernd and Hilla Becher

Bernard (1931-2007) and Hilla (1934-) Becher. The coulple were German conceptual artists and photographers working as a collaborative duo, best known for their extensive series of industrial buildings and structures, often organised in grids. Among them images of Germany´s ominous water towers and monolithic coal bunkers,  gas tanks and factory facades. They did so in an obsessively formalist way that defined a style, and made them one of the most dominant influences in contemporary European photography and art.

Below, photo by Anton Corbijn, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Inwards and Onwards, b/w photography, 2007, 146 x 146 cm (Edition 6+2 AP)


The pair met while working for an advertising agency in Düsseldorf in 1957. They had both studied painting and photography at the Akademie, and soon discovered a shared fascination with the vernacular industrial architecture of the Ruhr region: the giant, monolithic sculptural forms that dominated the surrounding landscapes.

Below photo: Bernd and Hilla Becher´s Mine Head

Bernd and Hilla Becher's Mine Head

The Becher school has influenced a number of (mainly) German photographers, also because of their roles as teachers at Düsseldorf’s Kunstakademie, where their pupils included Thomas RuffCandida Höfer and Andreas Gursky.

By: Tina Holth