Art Term

Dusseldorf School of Photography

The Dusseldorf School of Photography refers to a group of photographers who studied at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf in the mid 1970s under the influential photographers Bernd and Hiller Becher

Thomas Struth, ‘Shinju-ku (Skyscrapers), Tokyo 1986’ 1986
Thomas Struth
Shinju-ku (Skyscrapers), Tokyo 1986 1986
© Thomas Struth

Known for their rigorous devotion to the 1920s German tradition of Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), the Bechers’ photographs were clear, black and white pictures of industrial archetypes (pitheads, water towers, coal bunkers).

Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Axel Hütte, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth modified the approach of their teachers by applying new technical possibilities and a personal and contemporary vision, while retaining the documentary method their tutors propounded.

related terms and concepts


Photography refers to the process or practice of creating a photograph – an image produced by the action of light ...

Documentary photography

Documentary photography is a style of photography that provides a straightforward and accurate representation of people, places, objects and events ...

New Objectivity

New Objectivity is the English translation of 'Neue Sachlichkeit', a German modern realist movement of the 1920s, described by one ...

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selected artists in the collection

selected artworks in the collection

Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher Gas Tanks


Thomas Ruff Goetz Collection


Andreas Gursky Thebes, West


dusseldorf school of photography at tate

Tate Modern Exhibition

Cruel + Tender: The real in the twentieth century photograph

5 Jun – 7 Sep 2003
Cruel and Tender past exhibition at Tate Modern 5 June – 7 September 2003
Tate Liverpool Exhibition

Thomas Ruff: 1979 to the present

9 May – 6 Jul 2003
Press release announcing Thomas Ruff 1979 to the present past exhibition at Tate Liverpool 2003