German, b. 1955
In his resplendent large-scale photographs, Andreas Gursky captures the modern world, and its landscapes, people, architecture, and industries, in seductive detail. Shot from an elevated perspective and produced on an epic scale, Gursky’s images show the individual or granular—supermarket products, soccer players, windows on a building, or islands in the sea—subsumed by the masses or the environment. Drawing influence from his schooling under Bernd and Hilla Becher, Gursky rigorously composes his expansive views to envelop viewers with dizzying scale, detail, and color—effects he often heightens through digital manipulation. “In the end I decided to digitalize the pictures and leave out elements that bothered me,” he said of his “Rhine” photographs (1999), one of which set the record in late 2011 for the highest price ever paid for a photograph at auction. Gursky bears a close comparison to other members of the Dusseldorf School, particularly Thomas Struth, Axel Hütte, and Candida Höfer.