The New German Objectivity: The Dusseldorf School.
I’ve been watching a documentary program on Acorn TV called Photo by Luciano Rigolini it’s a 12-part series that explores the development of photography from its beginnings to more recent times. Here’s a link to the program Trailer for PHOTO
Episode #3 called The New German Objectivity: The Dusseldorf School of the 1960s sought to preserve the memory of a disappearing world as the industrial landscape began to change. Photographers Bernhard and Hilla Becher began their collaboration in 1959 and soon married as well. They worked together for over 50 years and produced over 20,000 images. The Becher Style as it became known focused on images of industrial and functional rural structures such as silos, water-towers, barns, and warehouses. These were developed in black-and-white and displayed in multiple small images of the same building which would be arranged into a grid, each photo offering a slightly different vision of the structure. The Becher’s imposed a very strict regime for their work. Using only black and white, no off-center framing, no reflective work, no people or animals in the shots and no blurring or other artistic effects. Their images are stark with a documentary quality and highlight the haunting beauty of objects most people would overlook. Their photography in some ways reminds me of haiku. For more information about their work and history here is a link Becher style
If you are familiar with my photography then you’ll know that I too have a fascination with abandoned, forgotten structures and objects. It’s the unintentional beauty of these places that catches my eye and draws me in. While I’m curious about the history of the structures or objects I find my main interest in photographing them is to preserve and showcase their beauty. I don’t impose any of the restrictions the Becher’s did. I like the creative process and enjoy having the freedom to explore by off center framing and using other artistic effects both before the shot and in the post processing.
I think both schools of thought work in showcasing these old structures into unintentional and unconventional art forms.
If you decide to explore an abandoned structure bring your wellies and a flashlight… Art