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Interview with Hilla Becher

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 24, 2008

A year after her husband died, photographer Hilla Becher was interviewed by a German magazine about her work and her husband.

SZ: Why was your husband not interested in such photos?
HB: He rejected them because he was not interested in taking them. Actually, he was never interested in photography.

SZ: That is an unusual statement about a man who spent his whole life on it.
HB: Originally, Bernd did sketches. In the beginning, he sketched industrial landscapes. But he never managed to finish his work, because he was so precise. Often the object was demolished right in front of his eyes, back then heavy industry in the Siegerland was being abandoned for good. The demolishing, the decay happened faster than he could sketch it.

SZ: So then he took photos?
HB: Right. He borrowed a 35mm camera and took photos, to use them for his sketches. That’s how it started, photography as the means to an end.

The Bechers worked tirelessly to photograph all kinds of industrial machinery.