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The Dusseldorf Photographers

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Sarah Hastey

on 31 March 2011

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Transcript of The Dusseldorf Photographers

The Düsseldorf School Photographers Bernd & Hilla Becher
Andreas Gursky
Candida Höfer
Thomas Struth
Thomas Ruff In what ways did the Düsseldorf Photographers break from traditional means of taking and presenting photographs?

How did these new methods gain artistic emancipation for photography? Bernd and Hilla Becher Bernd Becher studied typography at the Düsseldorfer Kunstakademie from 1959 to 1961
Hilla Becher studied photography at the Düsseldorfer Kunstakademie from 1958 to 1961
Bernd and Hilla Becher are among the most influential artists of our time
The Bechers first collaborated on photographing and documenting the disappearing German industrial architecture in 1959
The Bechers encouraged budding photographers to emulate their factually exact, tonally uniform approach to image-making
the impact of Bernd and Hilla Becher's black-and-white typologies of industrial structures and landscapes on a whole generation of German photographers cannot be overestimated
helped revive "New Objectivity" in Germany which was popular earlier with artists such as August Sander and Karl Blossfeldt Candida Höfer she was one of the first of Becher’s students to use colour, showing her work as slide projections
specializes in large-format photographs of empty interiors and social spaces
straightforward and detached style
clinical and documentary
interested in representing public spaces such as museums, libraries, national archives, or opera houses
devoid of all human activity but not presence.
uses her camera to note repeated forms within public spaces
creating patterns and a sense of orderliness.
relies on the light available, considering it an integral part of the interior in question. born 1944
1968 - she began working for newspapers as a portrait photographer
attended the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1973 to 1982
1976-82 studied photography under Bernd & Hilla Becher

photographs are similar to the Düsseldorf style of Bern and Hilla Becher
comparative study of various systems
typology document
almost every photograph excludes the direct presence of human activity (allows us to study the basic and underlying design of a structure)
unlike the Becher’s methodology, she does not use the same exact compositional arrangement for each of her buildings Andreas Gurksy born in 1955
son of a commercial photographer
studied under Bernd and Hila Becher at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie in the early 1980's
adopted a style and method closely following Becher’s systematic approach to photography
holds the record for highest price paid at auction for a single photographic print (99 Cent II, Diptych for 3.3 million) works with digital postprocessing
attaches multiple images to show more than we could see with our human eye
huge, panoramic color prints—some of them up to six feet high by ten feet long
subject matter was the contemporary world, dispassionate and distanced
climbs balconies, roofs, photographs from lift trucks, cranes recently from helicopters —had the presence, the formal power, and in several cases the majestic aura of nineteenth-century landscape painting Thomas Struth born 1954
trained at the Düsseldorf Academy from 1973 until 1980
initially studied painting under Gerhard Richter before photography under the Becher's in 1976 his museum photographs brought him great renown
they are signature images in the emergence of the large scale colour photograph as a dominant motif in the art world
deals with the picture within a picture and spaces within spaces his early work of black and white street grids related strongly to the work of the Becher's
placed his camera in a pre-conceived position in the center of the road
pictures employ balance and perfection
reduced to a geometric grid of perfect photographic composition (Becher's)
not looking for aestheticism solely framing, composition and documentation helped gain recognition for the large scale colour print in the world of institution/museum

moved away from the superficial effects of 'pictorialism'

thought of photography and painting as two different methods of creating images
(photography should not compete with the painting) did not think of photography as inferior to painting


thought photography could only exist if it capitalized and exploits it's own advantages Thomas Ruff studied under Hilla and Bernd Becher at the Kundstakademie Düsseldorf from 1977-85
taught photogrpahy at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 2000-05
quickly distinguished himself from his teachers by like delving into colour his early works (79-83) are rigorously composed like that of the Bechers
cropped each image to draw attention to details of geometric pattern
he has no desire to get to a deeper meaning or essence of what he photographs organizing their pictures in grids, brought them recognition as conceptual artists as well as photographers
Promoting photography as an authentic artistic medium, was of primary importance to the Bechers and their students
"It was important for them to be made aware that they were doing something which was totally equal in merit to painting. I always explained to them that it must not be of practical use." Bernd Becher NEW OBJECTIVITY:

a sharply focused, documentary approach to photography which emerged in 1920s Europe. In the decade prior, the soft look of pictorialism was the dominant aesthetic practiced by art photographers seeking to emulate the expressive qualities of painting.

"New Objectivity" moved in the opposite direction and embraced the camera’s mechanical ability to capture the real world in a clear, apparently objective manner.

Decades later in Germany, this approach resonated with photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, who became influential artists and teachers highly regarded for their typological studies of various architectural structures.






presented her work in other forms besides the "traditional print"

EX. slides, projections, plexiglass mounts used large scale which aided in recognition as contemporary 'art' created series of works not single images importance on form, pattern and space
his work then began to increase in size and colour
worked with four main subjects: family portraits; city-scapes; museums/places of worship; and jungles/forests
specializes in deep focus, whole image sharp regardless of distance Passed on:
1. importance of exhibition
2. a focus on series and pull away from 'the masterpiece'
3. strict pictorial guidlines opposed to 'the decisive moment'
4. focus on documentation, organization and comparison Questions distanced landscapes had the same aura of nineteenth centruy paintings


presented in huge colour prints (painting) but with detail and precison of a photograph


used post production to stitch together larger panoramic scenes than the human eye can see

uses computers to edit his work and create art in a space larger than that photographed (as does painting) building portraits are likewise serial, and have been edited digitally to remove obstructing details – a typifying method, his move into colour challenged the presumed authenticity of the blackand-white image on which traditions of documentary photography have long been based

had no desire to get to a deeper meaning or essence of his images

only interested in the image produced and the means of its production - not in interpretation

like the other of the Becher students he also blows up his prints to monumental scale and works in colour well known for his revival of the portrait in the 1980's

and for blowing them up to a newly large scale CONCLUSION The Photographers of The Düsseldorf School
helped gain artistic emancipation for photography by: focusing on series and the importance of
comparison and documentation (the series and typologies brought recognition as conceptual artists and not just photographers) breaking from traditional restrictions and creating new ways of production and exhibition (using monumental scale)
(colour)
(plexiglass/slide projection/typologies)
(digital stitching/editing)
transforming the way photographs were exhibited
from traditional print to 'l'objet d'art' He never stuck to one genre or method.
has investigated many different subjects and production tools
ex.- an infrared lens, hand-tinting, stereo photographs, digital retouching and photomontage. promoted photography as an authentic artist medium photography equal to painting
photography that has no other practical use challenged and changed pictorial concepts of photography
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