Photography was the first point of entry for the Zabludowicz family into the world of collecting and contemporary art, with works by Matthew Barney, Wolfgang Tillmans, Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth amongst the first to enter the collection. The diversity of photographic practice and approaches continues to grow, and in this section you will find many works made digitally or without a camera, as well as those that are more ‘traditional’ in their approach.
One distinctive direction well represented in the Collection is the ‘objective’ documentation of the material world, as articulated by Bernd and Hilla Becher. During their time at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf in the mid-1970s the Bechers taught Candida Höfer and Thomas Ruff amongst many other influential artists. This generation continued to pursue a form of objectivity, but also adapted it via new technical approaches and more personal content.
The performative staging of scenes for the making of pictures – with associated uses of digital editing technology in their final composition – is an approach pioneered by artists such as Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson, both of whom can be seen to have had a profound effect on the works of a younger generation, including Daniel Gordon, Laurel Nakadate and Lucas Blalock. Photography continues to be a medium in which the cultural power of image production and circulation can be reflected on, with the conceptual projects of Christopher Williams a leading example. In 2017 the Collection presented and toured You Are Looking at Something That Never Occurred, an exhibition of 14 photographic artists, including many of those mentioned above, tracing how the camera can be used to blur boundaries between past and present, fact and fiction.