Bernd and Hilla Becher have profoundly influenced the international photography world over the past several decades. Their unique genre, which falls somewhere between topological documentation and conceptual art, is in line with the aesthetics of such early-twentieth-century masters of German photography as Karl Blossfeldt, Germaine Krull, Albert Renger-Patzsch, and August Sander.
Industrial Landscapes introduces a new aspect to the Bechers' photography, one that will surprise connoisseurs of their work. Whereas their previously published works concentrated on isolated industrial objects, they now show huge industrial sites amid their natural surroundings. They move away from the objective, severe image to present slightly more narrative, interpretive images of the industrial environment as a whole. Although the photographs in Industrial Landscapes were taken over the past forty years, they are published here for the first time. The industrial structures shown include a wide range of coal mines, iron ore mines, steel mills, power stations with cooling towers, lime kilns, grain elevators, and so on. They represent industrial regions in Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States (Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania).