Thomas Struth

Unit 23 – Photographic Media, Techniques and Technology criteria P 1,2,3,4

A photographer I have recently been researching after chancing upon some of his work both online and in the Cruel and Tender book is Thomas Struth. I must admit to noticing a few key themes in some of his work that align with ideas I have had for my project for a cruel and tender. From his work in architectural and brutalist imagery to his Images of people in art galleries and museums which correspond with my idea of people in Art appreciation. Here are some Images and some Information about him.

Thomas Struth (born 1954) is a German photographer whose wide-ranging work covers detailed cityscapes, museums, art galleries, urban jungles and family portraits. Along with Andreas Gursky, he is one of Germany’s most noted modern-day photographers

Born in Germany Struth trained at the Düsseldorf Academy from 1973 until 1980 where he initially studied painting under Peter Kleemann and Gerhard Richter before settling on Bernhard Becher’s photography studio. He won a scholarship to work at in New York for the year of 1978. His early works largely consisted of black-and-white shots of streets in Japan, Europe and America. Skyscrapers were another favourite feature of his work, with many of his photographs attempting to show the relationship people have with their modern-day environment.

In the mid-1980s Struth added a new dimension to his work when he started to produce family portraits.

As a result, these works attempt to show the underlying social dynamics within a seemingly still photograph.

Basing himself in the art capital of Germany – Düsseldorf, Struth’s artistic profile continued to rise in the 1990s, and in 1997 he was awarded the Spectrum International Photography Prize of Lower Saxony.

Struth had his first solo exhibition in the U.S. at The Renaissance Society in Chicago in 1990. He had an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2003. The centre of the exhibition was the Museum series, I previously mentioned, which featured seemingly ordinary shots of people entering churches, museums and other public places and appreciating the architecture and art within.

Thomas Struth’s work is a testimony that ‘us’ photographers are researchers. This next extract is from James Lingwood’s Composure – A text on Thomas Struth.

Thomas Struth’s photographs over the past 20 years constitute a sustained and concentrated inquiry into the ethics and aesthetics of seeing. Struth’s research is not motivated solely by an interest in what we can see – the surfaces of places, people and paintings – important though the subjects of his photographs are to him. He is equally preoccupied with the question of the way that we see. Because the way that we see, the manners and the models of seeing, are a powerful signifier or our social being, of the way that we are, with ourselves and with others; of the way that we negotiate our relations with people around us, with ‘Strangers and Friends’, to return to the title of an earlier book of Struth’s.

Thomas Struth is an artist that after researching his work and portfolio I have grown to admire and I feel his imagery has become more relevant to me. With the work I am doing now and the projects I am considering lining up… I find my own vision aligning with Struth’s in certain themes and ideas I have had independently, which I find interesting

Sources – Tate and Art institute of Chicago as well as the book Cruel and Tender

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