I recently encountered the phrase "Becher typologies". While, I understand the meaning of typology with respect to classification and categorization, Becher typologies do not seem to fit this definition. They appear to involve grids of photos.

What is the meaning of "typology" in photography? Besides Becher typologies, what other photographic typologies are there?

One of the answers at Why are the Becher typologies considered artistically valuable? partially answers this question. This question is not a duplicate of that one because it asks about the "artistic value" of Becher typologies, which is completely subjective. While artistic relevance may be included as part of an answer to my question, I am concerned about the objective definition of typology with respect to photography.

  • I agree that this should be a trivial question. But it is apparently necessary because of all of all of the photography-is-about-gadgetry-and-math-and-all-art-is-clearly-incomprehensible close votes on the linked question. – mattdm Sep 20 '18 at 22:01
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    Does this really need a separate question? Shouldn’t this be elucidated as an answer to the other question, or even expanded upon in the the actual other question itself? – scottbb Sep 20 '18 at 22:22
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    @scottbb Yeah, that would be better. Or, alternately, this could be a meta question focused on Are they relevant to photography? If so, how? – mattdm Sep 21 '18 at 1:03
  • However, having searched, I think this question would stand on its own if it were about typologies in general (and not specifically/only Becher). Just searching typology photography gives several different results. Granted, many refer to Becher (perhaps that's the prototype typology), but as a concept, I think this is an excellent general terminology question. – scottbb Sep 21 '18 at 2:27
  • Possible duplicate of Why are the Becher typologies considered artistically valuable? – Michael C Sep 21 '18 at 6:58

Note will update tomorrow to generalize

This is not a general term; it is the label for a body of work by a pair of photographers, Bernd and Hilla Becher.

They're absolutely relative to photography, because the Becher typologies are a series of photographs.

These photographs are presented as grids of photographs of similar buildings or structures, in the manner of a catalog or of a scientific study — hence "typology". The Bechers produced images in this project over the course of almost 50 years.

Further, they are artistically significant, in the sense outlined here, because they were intentionally made as a "polemical return to the ‘straight’ aesthetics and social themes of the 1920s and 1930s in response to the gooey and sentimental subjectivist photographic aesthetics that arose in the early post-war period".

Examples of this work can be found in the Tate Gallery, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Met, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and elsewhere.

  • Generalized question to "What are photographic 'typologies'?" Think your answer can survive mostly intact with the addition of a preamble. – xiota Sep 21 '18 at 2:48
  • Plan to update. Been busy though – mattdm Sep 25 '18 at 1:18

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