Issue #130  7/18/2007
Bernd Becher Dies After Heart Surgery

Bernd Becher died at the age of 75 two weeks ago after undergoing heart surgery. Becher, along with his wife Hilla, was considered one of the major influences on contemporary photography.

The Bechers' straight-on documentary approach to various industrial age structures, such as water towers, storage silos, warehouses and framework houses, were icons for their many students at the Düsseldorf Academy. This "topological" and systematic method was quickly emulated by those students, and became known as the Düsseldorf or German school or style. The photographs that the Bechers took were often organized in grids to better compare the structures.

Before Becher, photography had been excluded from what was largely a school for painters.

Major contemporary photographers Andreas Gursky, Candida Hofer, Thomas Struth and Thomas Ruff were all students of the Bechers, which is a measure of their immense and continuing influence on the field.