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Basic Forms is a brief, handy, visual introduction to the encyclopedic formal canon of industrial buildings in the Western world – and the Bechers devoted their life’s work to documenting it. The book brings together, as its title implies, basic forms of all kinds of industrial structures in a representative selection of 61 photographs. The different forms of the most frequent types of structure are presented like the letters of an alphabet. The Bechers’ repertoire of topics encompasses the following key categories:
Taken with extreme objectivity and technical precision, as well as the famous shadow-less Becher light, the photos reveal the hidden poetry and aesthetic beauty of the architecture of these functional and utility buildings of our industrial culture. For a long time this strand in human cultural heritage was excluded from the cultural awareness of our society. We have the Bechers to thank for opening our eyes to it – with their marvelous photographs. They did this on their own, with no public commission or external funding. The Bechers’ selfless contribution to the photographic historiography of our age cannot be valued and esteemed highly enough.
Bernd & Hilla Becher, Basic Forms / Grundformen
First published to mark the presentation of the Hasselblad Foundation International Award to Bernd and Hilla Becher on November 20, 2004.
Foreword by Gunilla Knape
Essay by Susanne Lange
25 x 18 cm
160 pages, 61 duotone plates
Hardcover with dust jacket