Charles Sheeler (1883–1965) was a painter and one of the most prominent industrial photographers of 20th-century America. His work made its first public appearance at the famous 1913 New York Armory Show, an international exhibition of modern art that upturned the perception of modern art in the US. In the late 1910s, Sheeler concentrated primarily on architectural and industrial photography, achieving success with his work for Ford Motors and his famous shot of its factory in River-Rouge. He later returned to painting, in a style that anticipated photorealism, since the majority of his canvases were copied from his own photographs.
Bernd (1931–2007) and Hilla (b. 1937) Becher are among Germany’s best-known contemporary photographers. Having met at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1950, the two immediately began working together, their main interest lying in industrial architecture such as storage silos, water towers, oil tanks, blast furnaces, hangars, and barns. They photographed these objects in black and white, using a highly objective, serial style. Initially scrupulously documenting old industrial objects around West Germany, they later shifted their focus to the wider European and American industrial landscapes. Their practice came to an end with the death of Bernd Becher in 2007.