Andreas Gursky is well known as a successful photographer, whose works are being sold for the millions of dollars. Therefore, before you proceed, please take a look at some of them to represent what is at stake. Although I’m sure many of them you have already seen in the Internet.
Please take into consideration the fact that when his works are exhibited two or three pictures can occupy all the exhibition space because of the style of Andreas Gursky. There are large-scale pictures made usually from a high point of view. Therefore to feel the power of photos they should be watched in kind. Imagine yourself a photo about the size of 2 to 4 meters which can be viewed close up and there are all the details in focus and can be seen very clearly whether near or far perspective.
Few words about the author. He was born in the German Democratic Republic (DDR – Deutsche Demokratische Republic). The Germans joke: “DDR is Die Deutsche Russen”. His father was a popular advertising photographer and of course his first teacher. Later their family escaped to the Federal Republic of Germany where he received his education in the eighties of the last century. In addition to teaching photography in Düsseldorf and two-year study in the school of professional photographers Folkwang in Essen, Andreas Gursky also received his art education at the State Art Academy in Düsseldorf. And now it certainly helps him in creating his works.
At present Gursky’s works are in the permanent collection of art “Metropolitan” Museum in New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and San Francisco, the Museum of Modern Art and Tate Modern in London.
Below you can see two of his works, which have been sold for a record price, which is amazing.
1. 99 cents (diptych), 1999 (2,07 × 3,37 m)
Sold at auction “Sotheby’s” February 7, 2007 for about 3.346 million dollars. The photo shows the interior of one of the shops which has the same name. And you can examine every product on the shelf for a long time.
2. Rhein II, 1999 (1,854 x 3,635 m)
Why is it called «Rhein two»? Because Gursky made six photos associated with this river, one of the biggest in Europe. This is the second of six.
“Rhein II” sold in 2011 at Christie’s auction in New York for about 4.338 million dollars. The message about it and the photo immediately spread all over the Internet.
Some critics believe that here depicted the confrontation of land and sky. Snapshot verified with mathematical precision and in accordance with the rules of photography. Horizon goes well in the middle, dividing the picture into two parts. This photo can be valuable by the fact that at the moment the both shores of this part of the river Rhein is already fully built up.
It is interesting but the original were depicted as electric power factory and some other buildings as well as the man with a dog in the foreground. But Gursky removed them in a computer program. It is significant that as an old school photographer he initially did not recognize this type of images post production and began to actively use the computer in the mid-nineties of the last century only.
What is the secret of such clarity and detailed images regardless of how far removed the object in the photo? As he takes such an unusual camera angles and points of view? The fact is Andreas Gursky uses large format camera to 9 x 12 cm and then “glues” the images in a computer program. This allows him to put in his image objects, people, architectural objects, etc. In one frame can be connected a lot of photos of the same angle but with a gap in time. A panoramic image can be connected in a completely different angles, such as in this photo, where he joined the perspectives of house shooted from both sides.
The themes of pictures made by Gursky were different during the time. There was a time when he was shooting people in a moving. There was a time, and his work has been focused on shooting natural landscapes. It seems to me that the development of computer technologies influences on the style of his contemporary works. Andreas Gursky travels a lot and before coming to a city he already knows in advance what he would shoot. In his pictures we can see a deserted cityscapes or in contrast unreally crowded with various objects. But in spite of this in all his works there is no sense of movement or the story all frozen in some moment showing the solidity and permanence of the world and the impermanence of life.
During shooting Gursky always tries to use the most probably higher point of view. His work is documentary photography of human life in which attention is given to all even the smallest detail. In most cases all his pictures are collected from multiple frames. While retouching hi removes unnecessary details, but something is going to add. Particular attention he pays to color correction, trying to keep his photos less of colors. A smart approach to such kind of montage became in great demand among collectors.
Andreas Gursky presently lives and works as a professor in Düsseldorf State Academy of Arts.