Bird’s eye view. Andreas Gursky from 1980 to Present

Andreas Gursky - 99 Cent I (2001)
99 Cent I, 2001

About Andreas Gursky

Andreas Gursky (b. 1955 in Leipzig, Germany) is one of the pioneers of contemporary photography. A world-renowned art photographer who lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany represents a revaluation of realism within contemporary photography through conceptual staging and digital image editing. The German photographer (born 1955) popularised photography focusing on day to day human activity in commerce, sports, leisure and so on. His trademark photos show large formats of stock exchanges, ports, concert arenas, race tracks and other areas that hold human activity. The point of angle is usually elevated to take in as much area as possible.

Gursky studied photography at the Folkwang Academy in Essen during the 1970s. He started experimenting with a 4×5 inch (10.2×12.7 cm) camera which was at odds with the photography of these days. He also focused on aspects of modern life in work, business, and social life.

Gursky pushed large format photography to new heights. By 1980s he was printing on commercial photography paper using the largest print paper available. He combined print papers to make the photos even larger. He was the first photographer to produce prints larger than 6×8 feet (1.8×2.4 m).

The spectrum of Gursky’s work includes topics such as architecture, landscape, interiors, as well as large events with huge crowds such as The Mass Games of North Korea or his famed series of photos of stock exchanges throughout the world.

“It is not pure photography, what I do,” Gursky describes his own work. “All my pictures are based on a direct visual experience from which I develop an idea for a picture, which is subjected to testing in the studio and eventually worked on and precised at the computer.”

Photos: 1980s

Andreas Gursky - Gasherd, 1980
Gasherd, 1980

Andreas Gursky - Pförtner, Passkontrolle, 1982 (2007), Leihgabe des Künstlers : Courtesy Sprüth Magers © Andreas Gursky : VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017
Pförtner, Passkontrolle, 1982
Courtesy Sprüth Magers / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017

Andreas Gursky - Pförtner, 1982, Copyright Andreas Gursky, VG-Bildkunst 2008
Pförtner, 1982

Andreas Gursky - Düsseldorf, Rhein, 1985
Düsseldorf, Rhein, 1985

Andreas Gursky - Swimming Pool, Ratingen (1987)
Swimming Pool, Ratingen, 1987

Andreas Gursky - Teneriffa, 1987
Teneriffa, 1987

Andreas Gursky - Giordano Bruno, 1989
Giordano Bruno, 1989

Andreas Gursky - Hühner Krefeld (1989)
Hühner Krefeld, 1989

Andreas Gursky - Maloja, 1989
Maloja, 1989

Andreas Gursky - Ofenpass, 1989
Ofenpass, 1989

Photos: 1990s

Andreas Gursky - Hechingen, Jockey, 1990
Hechingen, Jockey, 1990

Andreas Gursky - Salerno 1, 1990
Salerno 1, 1990
Gursky says the four shots of the Salerno port in Naples were done by whim. The warm sunlight invited him to shoot a few photos. What was interesting was that there were no people in the photos, only numerous new cars, shipping containers, berthed ships and the background of the sea. He says this was the turning point at which he discovered the powerful effect of shooting great scale and sharp accuracy.

Andreas Gursky - Genoa (1991)
Genoa, 1991

Andreas Gursky - Aletschgletscher, 1993
Aletschgletscher, 1993

Andreas Gursky - Mercedes, Rastatt, 1993
Mercedes, Rastatt, 1993

Andreas Gursky - Paris, Montparnasse
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993, C-print, 187 × 427.8 × 6.2 cm
This is an elevated view of a high-density apartment building in Paris. The dimensions are 7×13 feet (2.1×4 meters) creating a panoramic effect that captures the ground, building, and sky. The interesting thing is that Gursky did not capture the edges of the building. The overall effect is one of isolation and alienation of the inhabitants of the high-rise, which is a paradox.

Andreas Gursky - Schiphol, 1994
Schiphol, 1994

Andreas Gursky - Sha Tin (1994)
Sha Tin, 1994

Andreas Gursky - Centre Georges Pompidou, 1995
Centre Georges Pompidou, 1995

Andreas Gursky - Dance Valley (2001)
Dance Valley, 1995

Andreas Gursky - Engadin I, 1995
Engadin I, 1995

Andreas Gursky - Prada II (1997)
Prada II, 1997

Andreas Gursky - Zurich V, 1997, 132.20 x 154.50 cm
Zurich V, 1997, 132.20 x 154.50 cm

Andreas Gursky - Rhein II, 1999
Rhein II, 1999
In this photo, Gursky combined large-scale photography and digital manipulation to create an entirely new section of the River Rheine. It is a 5×10 feet (1.5×3 meters) photo that shows a high color landscape that is free of human presence and industry. Gursky achieved this by combining several sections of the river. This photo went on to become the most expensive ever sold at an auction, fetching $4.3 million in 2011.

Andreas Gursky - Chicago, Board of Trade II (1999)
Chicago, Board of Trade II, 1999
In this photo, Gursky captures the frenetic activity of the Chicago Board of Trade perfectly but without any point of focus. There is movement and detail all over the photograph which also creates a feeling of more activity outside the photo.

Andreas Gursky - Klitschko (1999)
Klitschko, 1999

Photos: 2000s

Andreas Gursky - Amsterdam, EM Arena I, 2000
Amsterdam, EM Arena I, 2000

Andreas Gursky - Kuwait Stock Exchange (2000)
Kuwait Stock Exchange, 2000

Andreas Gursky - Kuwait Stock Exchange II
Kuwait Stock Exchange II, 2000

Andreas Gursky - Shanghai, 2000
Shanghai, 2000, c-print

Andreas Gursky - Avenue of the Americas, 2001
Avenue of the Americas, 2001

Andreas Gursky - Madonna I, 2001
Madonna I, 2001

Andreas Gursky - Stateville, Illinois, 2002
Stateville, Illinois, 2002

Andreas Gursky - São Paulo, Sé (2002)
São Paulo, Sé, 2002

Andreas Gursky - Rimini, 2003
Rimini, 2003

Andreas Gursky - Monaco, 2004
Monaco, 2004

Andreas Gursky - Nha Trang (2004)
Nha Trang, 2004

Andreas Gursky, Bahrain I, 2005
Bahrain I, 2005, C-Print, 306 x 221,5 x 6,2 cm (framed)

Andreas Gursky - Beelitz, 2007
Beelitz, 2007

Andreas Gursky - Cocoon I, 2007
Cocoon I, 2007

Andreas Gursky - F1 Boxenstopp I (2007)
F1 Boxenstopp I, 2007

Andreas Gursky - F1 Boxenstopp III (2007)
F1 Boxenstopp III, 2007

Andreas Gursky - Kamiokande (2007)
Kamiokande, 2007

Andreas Gursky, Kathedrale, 2007, C-Print, 237 x 333 x 6,2 cm
Kathedrale, 2007, C-Print, 237 x 333 x 6,2 cm

Andreas Gursky - Tour de France, 2007
Tour de France, 2007, C-print, 307.3 × 219.1 cm.jpg

Andreas Gursky - Bahrain II, 2007
Bahrain II, 2007

Andreas Gursky - Hamm - Bergwerk Ost (2008)
Hamm – Bergwerk Ost, 2008

Andreas Gursky - James Bond Island II (2007)
James Bond Island II, 2007

Andreas Gursky - Dubai World I, 2007
Dubai World I, 2007, C-Print / Diasec 307 x 223,3 x 6,2 cm (framed)

Andreas Gursky - Dubai World III, 2008
Dubai World III, 2008

Andreas Gursky - Jumeirah Palm, 2008
Jumeirah Palm, 2008

Andreas Gursky - Ohne Titel XV (2008)
Ohne Titel XV, 2008

Andreas Gursky - Dortmund (2009)
Dortmund, 2009

Photos: 2010-

Andreas Gursky - Ocean I (2010)
Ocean I, 2010

Andreas Gursky - Ocean V (2010)
Ocean V, 2010

Andreas Gursky - Bangkok IX (2011)
Bangkok IX, 2011

Andreas Gursky - V&R, 2011
V&R, 2011

Andreas Gursky – Frankfurt Airport (2012)
Frankfurt Airport, 2012

Andreas Gursky - Katar (2012)
Katar, 2012

Andreas Gursky - Kirchentag, 2013
Kirchentag, 2013, Inkjet print, edition 3/6, 307 x 217 x 6.2 cm (framed)

Andreas Gursky - Amazon, 2016
Amazon, 2016

Andreas Gursky - Les Mées, 2016
Les Mées, 2016

All images © Andreas Gursky/andreasgursky.com, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012, Sprüth Magers Berlin London/spruethmagers.com

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