Over the course of nearly five decades, Bernd and Hilla Becher documented almost every type of industrial architecture--from water towers and steel mills to gas tanks and grain silos--in Europe and the United States. Whether presenting single shots or their signature typological grids, the Bechers created a photographic testament to the industrial revolution that so emphatically shaped the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. At the same time, however, they also captured a much older manufacturing tradition: the quarrying and processing of stone. This volume, an essential addition to the Bechers' ouevre, is devoted to their photographs of rock-processing plants and lime kilns taken in Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and Great Britain throughout the 1980s and 90s. Each structure is unique, its details dependent upon the region and the date of its construction, and the book features buildings whose essential function is ancient but which remain important today. Although a small number of these images have been included in previous monographs, this is the first publication to showcase a comprehensive collection of the Bechers' study of stonework and lime kilns.
Bernd Becher (1931-2007) and Hilla Becher (born 1934) met at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and first collaborated in 1959. Starting in the late 1960s, their work gained worldwide visibility via prominent exhibitions such as Documenta, Kassel, Germany; the Bienal de São Paulo; and the Venice Biennale. The Bechers' work is represented in major collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate Gallery, London, and they have received numerous awards, among them the Erasmus Prize and the Hasselblad Award. The Bechers were influential professors at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, training a generation of photographers now known collectively as the Düsseldorf School. Over a dozen monographs of their work have been published.