Axel Hütte (born 1951, Germany) is known among contemporary photographers as "the landscape painter" and has also built a reputation as an expert nighttime photographer. Between 1973 and 1981, he studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he attended Bernd Becher's fine arts course in photography. During this time, he joined Andreas Gursky and Thomas Ruff in a rented studio space inside a disused power station.
"I only work when I’m irritated or dreaming."
The resurgence of the city – and of the landscape in general – as a major theme in art photography is primarily attributable to this group of German photographers, all born during the first post-World War II decade in a divided Germany. Given their shared nationality and proximity in age, Axel Hütte, Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff and Candida Höfer seem fated to be grouped as a school movement, despite significant differences beyond their shared favoring of large-format color prints. In 2001, Axel Hütte spent time exploring the non-urban nighttime landscape, whose peacefulness under a starry sky – à la Elsheimer or Caspar David Friedrich – serves as a counterpart to the restless sleep of the large American cities that the artist masterfully captured several years later.