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passages

Hilla Becher

Bernd and Hilla Becher, Winding Towers, 1963–1992, 2003, fifteen gelatin silver prints, overall 68 1/4 × 94 1/4".

Technology is above requiring an interpretation; it interprets itself. You merely need to select the right objects and place them precisely in the picture; then they tell their story of their own accord.

Hilla Becher, 1989

IN READING interviews and conversations with Bernd and Hilla Becher over the years, I’ve noted the sentiments of the above quote reformulated in various ways; in turn, the Bechers’ subjects “tell their own stories” to the camera, and their subjects and the camera “cooperate” with and “perform” for one another. In addition to this, and from the very beginning, the Bechers insisted that there was no division of labor in their practice: “For us it plays no role as to who pushes the shutter for a particular picture . . . outsiders cannot tell who has taken a particular photo and we also often forget ourselves. It simply is not important.” Maybe this can begin

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