Since the late 1950s, German artists Bernd and Hilla Becher’s primary focus has been documenting the industrial structures that dot the landscape of northern and central Europe and the United States. Characterized by a deliberately unglamorous and detached aesthetic, their work explores the seemingly objective nature of the camera as a recorder of truth. Employing a strict set of rules (a fixed, frontal viewpoint, overcast sky, and black-and-white film), the Bechers create photographs that avoid emotion, narrative, or subjectivity. Their work has influenced an entire generation of contemporary photographers, and their practice has pushed photography toward consideration within the field of sculpture.
Wassertürme is part of a larger ongoing series in which the artists sought out similar architectural forms during a 25-year period. By juxtaposing like images in a grid format, they produce a dialogue between repetition and variation.