Conclusions Photography has always been associated with some notion of cutting out and keeping the past

in order that it is not forgotten, although not necessarily in order to commend or legitimate the events therein. An extensive collection of nakedly truthful architectural portraits such as the Bechers¶, could be said to be a way of preserving the buildings and what they represent, rather than a way of banishing them to µthe registers of the dead¶ in order that society moves forward (or at least away from the faux 'progression' of industrialisation). Preservation, yes, and as important to the renewal of German identity as is the conservation of Auschwitz. Indeed, the Bechers were heavily involved in the German industrial preservation movement that started in the 1950s and resulted in numerous icons of the country¶s economic and cultural history being listed and their demolition prevented. The power of the Bechers' art, and therefore part of their rendering of photography as an important form, is tangible in that the photographs were so compelling that they became a part of a movement which changed (or maintained) Germany¶s landscape. It can also be said that, in preserving the winding gear, the framework workers¶ houses and silos in their art, the Bechers¶ µindustrial archaeology¶ was an investigation into specific communities. Despite claims that their subjects are completely isolated from their environment, the photographs are often dated and their locations documented, and therefore offer a pertinent reminder of a specific space and time for each similar but significantly different image. From there, a viewer can take time to study the stilled physicality of the buildings, their silent watch, whilst remaining aware of their specialised existence within individual societies.

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