Bernd Becher (1931−2007) was a German conceptual artist and photographer working as a collaborative duo with his wife Hilla Becher. They are best known for their extensive series of photographic images, or typologies, of industrial buildings and structures, often organized in grids. As the founders of what has come to be known as the ‘Becher school’ or the ‘Düsseldorf School’ they influenced generations of documentary photographers and artists.
Becher studied painting at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart from 1953 to 1956, then typography under Walter Brecker at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1957 to 1961. If we were to apply a typology to the letterform Becher drew, we might call it a ‘Modern’, a classification characterised by extreme contrast between thick and thin lines − an unornamented ‘modern’ appearance which first appeared in the late 18th century. Here Becher uses the term ‘Antiqua’, a classification we might more typically associate with earlier types from 15th or 16th century, however in this particular German context ‘Antiqua’ most likely refers to ‘Roman’ as opposed to ‘Fraktur’.