Thomas Struth
Swiss Re Corporate responsibility
Crosby Street, New York, 1978
Crosby Street, New York, 1978 · Silver Gelatine Print, 66 x 84 cm
Sommerstrasse, Düsseldorf, 1980
Sommerstrasse, Düsseldorf, 1980 · Silver Gelatine Print, 66 x 84 cm

Streets Struth’s street scenes constitute a series coterminous with his entire career and considered by their creator as unfinished. He had studied painting with Gerhard Richter and was among the first students in Bernd and Hilla Becher’s famous photography course at the Art Academy of Düsseldorf. In 1976, as part of a student exhibition at the Academy, Struth first showed a grid composed of 49 photographs taken on Düsseldorf’s streets, each of them obeying a strict logic of central symmetry. Struth had spent his weekends roaming the entire city and taking his pictures, for which he would always mount a tripod in the middle of the street. He was guided not by personal criteria but by his aim to capture completely normal streets in a faceless German metropolis rebuilt after the war. The decision to have all of the photographs organized around a central perspective, too, was the expression of his will to avoid restriction to a particular style or composition. ‘Changing the composition means appealing to viewers to note the difference anew with each individual photograph, whereas with a scientific pattern, a more comparative structure, you make it easier for them to grasp the visual structure as well.’