Axel Hütte, a German photographer born in 1951, and a student of the Becher’s at the Dusseldorf School of Art, is recognised for his land and cityscape work. He works in large format film.
Hütte’s landscape work is based in emptiness. All evidence of humans is absent. His work isn’t intended to convey any story and in fact seeks to blur time and space in order to revel in the sheer beauty of the scene. Hütte also seems to eschew detail preferring his landscapes to be viewed and considered as a whole without any particular emphasis in the frame. Though he has photographed around the world, it is quite often impossible to discern from the photo itself where it was taken. Even after reading a caption one doesn’t truly have a sense of place in most instances.
Terra Incognita, Axel Hütte
This approach is quite the opposite of the direction I have generally taken in trying to achieve detail and clearly depict time and space in context. And yet I am drawn to Hütte’s work. I have done quite a lot of past work that is more like Hütte’s, though even in my recent work there are examples. It seems in those cases, I find myself less concerned with showing a particular place in a way that it can be recognized than I am with depicting a mood or a texture that observe in that place. Where it is and even when becomes unimportant.
Lichen and Gorse, Ashley Rose 2018
Over the past 9 months, I have been so focused on the project work in which time and place are essential elements that I have not done as much of this sort of work. However, these photos would have broader commercial appeal precisely because of their universality and a succumbing to the idea of simple beauty for its own sake. There is total ambiguity about the place in the above photo. While it happens to have been taken in Scotland and the yellow flowers are gorse, it could have just as easily been taken in a wetland in South Carolina in the USA and the flowers forsythia or wild honeysuckle. This scene might be found in many places around the temperate zones of the world and that is why it acquires a universality to which viewers can relate.
Therein lies the appeal and success of Hütte’s landscape work.
Axel Hütte | artnet. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2018, from http://www.artnet.com/artists/axel-hütte/
Biography of Axel Hutte | Widewalls. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2018, from https://www.widewalls.ch/artist/axel-hutte/