The Dusseldorf Gang

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by tim_atherton|2, Nov 28, 2002.

  1. Carried over from "Shooting 8x10 and beyond"

    "Do people on these fora dig the Dusseldorf gang ? (Bechers, Struth,
    Gursky et al?) Now that would be an interesting discussion."

    Geofferey James

    Absolutley Geoffrey, along with Basilico

    Someone on here didn't like Struths image of Half Dome because it
    showed the road and tourists - and they, in the shadow of the trees
    were correctly exposed while the Dome was overexposed. Apparently
    that isn't done...?

    what's your take on them?
  2. - They all drive Jaguars and are called "the Stuffsky´s"-. Their great
    influence are realy people like Joel Sternfeld and William Eggelston.
    You need to see their impressive Diasec-prints to enjoy their work.
    There is also impressive marketing at work here!
  3. It would take a long essay to respond adequately to Tim's question. I raised the idea about the Dusseldorf school in part because there seems to be a huge gap in discourse between them and what is known, a bit unfortunatelty in my opinion, as "fine art photography." I learned about Berndt and Hilla Becher in the 1970s, when they were regarded as minimalists -- showing their obsessive, neutral records of industrial archaeology in grids and series. They are the parents -- or at least the teachers -- of this movement, and they kept at it in a way that seems admirable. There was a show of their work at the Ydessa Hendeles Foundation in Toronto a while back, and it was breath-taking -- a great grid of images of Pennsylvania coal tipples and a huge room of single images of water towers. They have become better photographers, not in any fussy, technical way, but in a total sureness of approach. (It's kind of like Baldus, who towered over his French contemporaries.) The group they have nurtured is much more disparate than it first appears. Thomas Ruff is the trickster -- often appropriating imagery. Thomas Struth is a little more like the Bechers, though without their systematic structuralist approach. Andreas Gursky was always interesting and has been crowned with a big show at MOMA. Both he and Struth show signs of becoming consumed by the system -- having to perform, and up the ante every year, so that the work often appears a little forced. (I was in a group show with Struth this summer, and his huge desert picture with cinemascope sky seemed like an uneasy amalgam of Wim Wenders and Carleton Watkins. He seemed a little overwhelmed by the sheer exoticism of the American landscape. ) There's another guy called Elger Essers who seems interesting, and Candida Hoeffer is a smart photographer. It's true that there is a big marketing machine behind many of these photographers, but so what ? (The inflation of the reputations is another matter.) The original American influences are more Walker Evans and the New Topographics guys, including Robert Adams. There is a recent book on steel mills by the Bechers that has an unashamed homage at Evans. And who better to revere ? Lining up at the tripod holes at Yosemite and remaking Ansel Adams doesn't add much to our knowledge of the world. And I personally would take Robert over Ansel any day of the week.
  4. Bob Thall is someone I would add to the latter list as well.

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