Bernd Becher (born August 20th 1931 in Siegen; died June 22nd 2007 in Rostock) and Hilla Becher, née Wobeser (born September 2nd 1934 in Potsdam) were a German artist couple, best known for their photographic images of industrial buildings.Bernd Becher studied painting at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart from 1953 to 1956, then typography under Karl Rössing at the Düsseldorfer Kunstakademie from 1959 to 1961.Prior to Hilla Becher’s time studying photography at the Düsseldorfer Kunstakademie from 1958 to 1961, she had completed an apprenticeship as a photographer in her native Potsdam. The couple married in 1961.
The Bechers first collaborated on photographing and documenting the disappearing German industrial architecture in 1959, and had their first Gallery exhibition in 1963 at the Galerie Ruth Nohl in Siegen. They were fascinated by the similar shapes in which certain buildings were designed. In addition, they were intrigued by the fact that so many of these industrial buildings seemed to have been built with a great deal of attention toward design. Together, the Bechers went out with a large format camera and photographed these buildings from a number of different angles, but always with a straightforward “objective” point of view. The images of structures with similar functions were then displayed side by side to invite viewers to compare their forms and designs. These structures included barns, water towers, storage silos, and warehouses.
The Bechers also photographed outside of Germany, including buildings from the United States and other areas of Europe. Bernd taught at the Düsseldorf Art Academy and influenced students that later made a name for themselves in the photography industry. Former students of Bernd’s included Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, and Candida Höfer.
They were the 2004 winners of the Hasselblad Award.