This is about objects, not motifs. The photo is only a substitute for an object; it is unsuitable as a picture in its customary sense.
The question if this is a work of art or not is not very interesting for us. Probably it is situated in between the established categories. Anyway the audience which is interested in art would be the most open-minded and willing to think about it.
...I became aware that these buildings [blast furnaces] were a kind of nomadic architecture which had a comparatively short life—maybe 100 years, often less, then they disappear. It seemed important to keep them in some way and photography seemed the most appropriate way to do that.
...art schools used to put the fear of God into their students by asking them “Can you make a living out of that?” We wanted just the opposite and simply told them to make stuff first and then we’d go on from there.
Our camera does not produce pretty pictures, but exact duplications that, through our renunciation of photographic effects, turn out to be relatively objective. The photo can optically replace its object to a certain degree. This takes on special meaning if the object cannot be preserved.
All we did was to turn back the time to a photography of precision which is superior to the human eye.
I’ve always said that we are documenting the sacred buildings of Calvinism. Calvinism rejects all forms of art and therefore never developed its own architecture. The buildings we photograph originate directly from this purely economical thinking.
We want to offer the audience a point of view, or rather a grammar, to understand and compare the different structures. Through photography, we try to arrange these shapes and render them comparable. To do so, the objects must be isolated from their context and freed from all association.