Typology in photography gained widespread recognition in the art world with the industrial photographs of Hilla and Bernd Becher (commencing in the late 1960s).
The objective or deadpan style of photographing series of similar ageing industrial buildings raised questions not only about the ostensible subject of the disappearance of a certain type of architectural landscape but also the nature of man-made beauty and photography’s role in art.
The Bechers initiated a new school of photography, called the Dusseldorf School, which is where they taught; their pupils/followers include Candida Hoffer, Thomas Struth and Adreas Gursky (whose work has achieved the highest price of any living photographer). Their approach follows the Bechers’ disinterested presentation of the subject but arguably the next generation are trying to convey more profound messages through their choice of subject (eg Gursky’s “99 cent” large format picture of arrays of goods in a discount US store, which suggests a critique of US consumerist wasteful culture enslaving those who cannot afford to enjoy its benefits).
To a certain extent, I am trying to echo the ethos underlying the work of the Dusseldorf school. Whilst portraying the leaf in a deadpan style I aim to suggest a comment on the disappearance of untamed nature and its replacement with beautified gardens and also to explore questions of the nature of beauty and photography’s role in its portrayal.
Matthew Greenburgh is an artist who focuses on still life work with strong aesthetic and symbolic components.