This small town symbolized the archetype of pastoral American life. Yet this idyllic place was also held hostage by a dark past, manifesting in the racial tensions that scar much of American history.
Thomas Struth is a contemporary photographer whose work captures the complexity of a range of subjects including urban scenes, Hawaiian rain forests, and intimate portraits. In one of his best-known projects, the Museum Photographs, the artist photographed museum visitors while admiring works of art, serving as an examination of both fleeting and eternal moments. “[When] I am taking a photograph, I am conscious that I am constructing images rather than taking snapshots,” he said of his process. “Since I do not take rapid photographs it is in this respect like a painting which takes a long time where you are very aware of what you are doing in the process.”
Born in 1954 in Geldern, Germany, he went on to attend the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf where he met Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, and Thomas Ruff, studying under Bernd and Hilla Becher. The Becher’s documentarian approach influenced Struth’s methodology towards photography, while his other professor, Gerhard Richter, inspired his interest in painterly images. His photographs are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, and Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf, among others. Struth currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.