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Tuesday, 01 March 2011


A spherical gas container? I have a few of those just a few hundred meters from my home here in Malmö, Sweden.

Looks to me like one image made from many photographs made by Bernd and Hilla Becher.

Could be a layering of every Becher photo stacked on one another. Water towers were their thing you know :P

A layering of Bernd and Becher images is my assumption. Seems if it is there is a lot of this thing happening these days. Jason Salavon did it with Playboy centerfolds starting in the late 90's from memory. There are others as well. Interesting idea.

Yup, you guys got it. Rob beat you to the punch by just a few seconds, Dan.


This was exactly what came to mind when I saw the "all tourists..." pictures last week.

If I'm not mistaken the picture is actually made from one of the the Bechers' series.

Every...Bernd And Hilla Becher Spherical Type Gasholder

Spherical gas tank. The ladders up the sides give it away.

It's a composite of Bernd and Hilla Becher's water tower typologies!

My guess would be a riff of some sort on the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher. Reminds me of Corinne Vionnet's work (or perhaps vice versa).

Gotta be Bern and Hilla's pics stacked.

Is it the Hindenburg? Or some other dirigible? Or maybe a front view of a submarine?

I'll take a wild guess and say it's the atomic bomb "Fatman" at the Trinity test site.

Every Becher picture all mashed together?

Becher's babies..

I knew it the second I saw it..

is it that german couple who photographed types of architecture?

All the Becher water tower pictures?

With that stuff overhead, I'd guess it's some kind of a fuel or gas tank in a refinery.


Google is your friend here. I wonder if you included all gas-holders, not just the spherical ones, would the sphere still dominate? And I suspect that there is a similar Ur-shape to be found in the water towers as well.

Incidentally, there is serious work done in vision science to find the underlying common elements in faces. All frontal face shots can be decomposed into "eigenfaces" which, mixed in different amounts and distorted a bit, can give rise to any actual face. This is one path to rapid automatic recognition of people in crowds to facilitate our future all-surveillance society. It is not hard to show (but it takes a little math formalism) that superimposing lots of faces allows the most common eigenfaces to emerge.


My guess would be some sort of pressurized gas storage tank at a refinery, you can see what look like pipes above and stairs that circle to the top.

Every Becher gas tank?

A natural gas holding tank.

A gas holder/container ? See: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_holder?wasRedirected=true

Looks like a gas holding sphere. But my wife is a chemical engineer so I see these when I go to her office.

A composite of every photo taken by the Bechers?

Is it a collage...no, that can't be the right word, er...a superimposition of the Bechers' photos of water tanks or something like that?

The Bechers' photos of water tanks overlayed...?

The "historian" part made me pause a bit. I'm starting to feel old. It's some of the Becher's work made using the same technique as your earlier posts of the portraits and Best Buys. Didn't you have a post on the reissue of the "New Topographics" catalog a while back?

A gas ball? Used to have one like this nearby painted like a supersize golf ball until they sold the land and removed it.

I guess every becher water tower DOES look the alike?

Gas Tanks - Bernd and Hilla Becher, enhanced a la recent mode by multiple superimpositions by Mr Kahn?

Not Googled, but I did have to check a book to remind me of their names; I certainly knew of their multiple, but single, images of industrial archetypes.

What's the prize, apart from TOP fame?

Regards - Ross

well, if i have to say it without google,
i will not remember their names,
but looks like superimposing the works of those two photographers (i think they're a couple as well in life) who have works of many industrial architecture typologies series, mainly tanks and warehouses and things like that,
saw some of their works few weeks ago at Tate modern.

Love these different series by Kahn - but as I have foreknowledge, I'll keep quiet...

An overlay of all the photos in the Bechers' watertower typology, I'll wager....

A water tower

I thought it was something. Then I Googled and lo, I was right. I win. :)

Looks to me like a composite of multiple Bernd and Hilla Becher photographs of gas tanks.

a tank at an oil refinery? the background pipes remind me the one in Martinez CA, which I used to drive by on a regular basis

Is it one of the water towers of Bernd and Hilla Becher?

Well, I couldn't recall their names but I did guess right - and a search with tineye brings it up at the Saatchi gallery: it's a compilation of Becher typologies, done in a similar way to those holiday locations you posted about a few days ago. I'm sure it qualifies as art by today's standards, but not half as much fun as the holiday ones. To be honest, I think it's a pretty good way to see the Becher stuff - ie all in one go.

It looks like an industrial gas tank, very much like those I know from my youth in the industrial city of Essen, Germany.

The photo looks to be of a gasometre, exposed several times.
TOP is a splendid site I visit daily. Keep up the good work.

Greetings, Leslie Quagraine.

its the Beckers water towers (all of them) superimposed?

A tank at a gasworks.

I think this work is similar to the work of Corinne Vionnet and his overlapping tourist snapshots (... "Most Tourists Take Pictures from the Same Spot').

Obviously, there are all the Becher's "spherical gasholders", overlapping of course.

Looks like a big gas tank to me (don't know the specific word in English though)

Being a country boy and having the odd visit to cities occasionally I've noticed various forms of these structures over the years.
Hazarding a guess I'd say it was a natural gas tank, but I could be wrong!

It seems to be a metal sphere with ladders running up both sides. A vessel for holding a liquid or gas. We had something similar in my hometown which was painted bright blue and was used for holding gas.

Heh. Looks to me like a composite of one of the Bechers' industrial studies. Clever indeed!

Looks to me like someone superimposed one of the typologies by the Bechers.

Is it a 'Most water tower photographers stand in the same place' piece collated from the Becher archive ?

It's some sort of industrial tank. I have seen those in chemical factories.

Should be a gasometer.


High pressure spherical tank at a chemical or research installation? We have something that looks very similar on the grounds here.


It is a nice pile of Becher foto's of gas tanks stacked together.....to catch the essense of a gasholder in one instead of 16 pictures.

Greetings, Ed

The arithmetic mean of all works of the Bechers?


It's a water tower at the site where Kodak used to make Kodachrome. I can't wait, I'm going to have to Google it NOW!

I looked up Idris Kahn after I posted my previous message and it seems I was right. I swear I didn't know him before and the Bechers really were the first thing that came to mind when I looked at the photo.

Maybe because of the "Most Tourists Take Pictures From The Same Spot" posting you had last month.

It's stacked Bechers, of course.

A composite of Bernd and Hilla Becher's typographies?

Isn't that James Cagney at the top shouting "Made it ma! Top of the world!"

"Gas Tank" by Bernd and Hilla Becher (founders of the Dusseldorf School) perhaps?


Isn´t this one of the classic images of Bernd & Hilla Becher, but after an over enthusiastic spin-drying session?


A riff on the Bechers?

Could it be a Bechers series superimposed?

Obviously, it's a bunch of (all?) Hilda and Bernd Becher's round tank photos rolled up into one image.

My first thought was a tank for holding natural gas. But after reading Mike's challenge I've decided it's the bow (nose?) of a submarine. A big submarine.

I'd guess it's a composite of all images in one class of the Bernd & Hilla Becher topologies...probably gas tanks.


I'd say it's an LNG (liquified natural gas) tank, through a camera on LSD

Gas/Gasoline tank.

you threw me off with the alt-text of 'Kahn' which brought up images of a young william shatner.

it looks like an oil storage tank, or something along those lines.

I have no idea what it could be. But this is rare. He definitely created his own unique style . I like.

one of Bernt and Hilla Becher water reservoir?

It's clearly a composite of many images, but what they depict I don't know. It seems like there's stairs going up on the sides, so the structure(s) are rather large. Containers for fluid or gas. Could be at an oil refinery.

Gas storage tank?

A time-lapse photo of the construction of an oil refinery storage tank?

Looks like one of those big spherical oil tanks to me. I can't imagine what it has to do with history of photography though.

Looks like a bunch of Bernd/Hilla Becher photographs of old industrial structures superimposed on each other.

Looks more like a blooper from Bernd & Hilla Becher.

I'd say it's a group of spherical gas holders (which some people call gasometers, though I don't think that is the right term) photographed by, or in the style of, Bernd and Hilla Becher, stacked and averaged in Photoshop. I like it.

A composite of the photos of water tanks made by that German couple whose name I cannot remember.

Liquidfied natural gas tank?

Every one of the Becher water towers?

It is an oil tank, or maybe some other chemical, but most likely oil.

Looks like a water tower. Something the Bechers would have done.

It's a gas tower. Bernd and Hilla Becher, anyone?

I'll say it's a gas storage tank, photographed from all directions with the exposures superimposed. Kind of like a 360-degree panorama, but pointing inward. It's something I've thought about doing.

Gas storage I presume.

Propane tank?

Can I get a half-point for guessing what it was without knowing its significance? (I googled afterwards to get the rest of the story.)

This is a composite from the Bernd and Hilla Becher series on water towers. Fantastic!
Idris Kahn also did a composite of all the pages of the Koran in one image; this one works better for me though.


Great stuff, anyway, though to quote William Matthews speaking for Charles Mingus, " 'There's a lot of that going around,' he said / and Sweet Baby Jesus he was right."

(For those who may care, the poem is Mingus at the Showplace from the impeccable Time and Money).

My tummy after cabbage rolls

i'm thinking its a whole bunch of 'tourist photos' laid over top of one another, recently made

These projects are certainly interesting but fascination does not alter the fact that these works have been produced by breaching the Copyright of the original photographers - whether anonymous and unknown as is possibly the case with the tourism examples or celebrated and known like the Bechers.

Any of us that use a camera as a means of turning a buck rely on Copyright for our ability to put food on the table and so we need to respect it and keep mindful of its importance.



"these works have been produced by breaching the Copyright of the original photographers"

That's just not so. You're allowed to make new works out of copyrighted older works. If anything, the courts have upheld this principle to too great a degree--as in the case of Richard Prince.


I hereby appropriate all the comments above into a single work and title it "A typology of comments pertaining to a photo typology of all the Bechers typology photos of gas tanks"

haha i'm glad the studio art degree i'm pursuing came in handy for something!

There's something strange about the composite. In the 25 originals shown as the source for this, all those which have a gantry girder walkway have been photographed so that the gantry comes from the right. There are no images with the gantry on the left. Yet in the composite, the girders above the tank-blur extend completely across the picture. So it appears that each picture was mirrored as well as superimposed in its original form.

In the image processing literature, you apply a scale change to make the eyes and mouth line up in each image before superimposing them to see which details emerge as "eigen-features" characterizing a face. If the artist had done this, he would have had the sphere's edge sharply outlined, and still the spiral walkways and surrounding structures would make a nice blur with some characteristic details emerging.


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