As an interest in contemporary photography grows, more photographers, especially those capturing landscapes, are abandoning traditional values and experimenting with new ways to interlace what’s natural and unnatural.
“Landscape photography continues to challenge the notion of both what landscape is and what photography is,” says Dr. Marisa Kayyem, Associate Professor and Director of Continuing Education at Christie’s Education, New York.
The genre is undergoing a resurgence, adds Bonnie Donohue, Senior Lecturer in Photography at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. “This is especially in light of the multiple meanings of landscape, including the aftermath of drone strikes, climate change, satellite espionage, as well as places of social gathering like theaters, stadiums, and vacation spots.”
For those that would like to grow their collection or just their understanding of landscape photography’s evolution, we’ve highlighted six artists who have paved new roads and driven strong demand in this ever-changing space.
Bernd (1931-2007) and Hilla Becher (1934-2015)
Beginning in 1959, husband and wife Bernd and Hilla Becher meticulously photographed industrial structures, visiting large mines and steel mills to capture intricately made towers, furnaces, and other machinery.
The Becher’s became widely known for their detailed studies of “the relationship between form and function.” Their work, considered “the most influential in photography today,” has taught and inspired several other renowned contemporary landscape photographers including Andreas Gursky, Candida Hofer, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth.
“The Becher’s, along with others of their generation, created a form of landscape photography that was more conceptual and objective,” says Dr. Kayyem. “The tensions between the banal and beautiful, and between nature and culture, that is found in their work challenged the long held practices of landscape photography of people like Ansel Adams.”
“Their vision of once durable yet disappearing places and typologies conjures memory and preservation,” says Donohue.
Collections: The Becher’s work can be viewed at the Tate Gallery, London and at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.