Definition of typology
noun ty·pol·o·gy \tī-ˈpä-lə-jē\

Simple Definition of typology

: a system used for putting things into groups according to how they are similar: the study of how things can be divided into different types.

Full Definition of typology
plural typologies

: a doctrine of theological types; especially: one holding that things in Christian belief are prefigured or symbolized by things in the Old Testament.

: study of or analysis or classification based on types or categories
typologist play \-jist\ noun

“Typology.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.

In photography, typology is making a collection of images that are based on a subject such as different styles of Windows, Door, etc. for example

Like these typologies by the German Husband and wife team of Bernd and Hilla Becher of Water towers, Pit Heads and Gas Holding Tanks.

Below are some other types or styles of typology:

Typology is a photographic style, used in 1929 by a photographer named August Sander who used a system of cataloging his portraits by social class and profession to show a contrast between the images, these images would show same or similar people and/or objects for classification.

In 1959 husband and wife team of Bernd and Hilla Becher started photographing together  shoot industrial building typologies like Water Towers and Pit Heads the one to note about these typological images is the 1) they are shoot with the same light, 2) they are shot from the same distance each time and 3) they are all in proportion to each other so they look similar. The Becher’s were very regimented and fastidious in how they worked a typical German trait which can also be said of the prewar counterparts whose work there’s reflected and as quoted from the Tate Gallery Website – section 4.

The first of these prewar influences was the systematic, pseudo-scientific studies of Karl Blossfeldt, Albert Renger-Patzsch, and, particularly, August Sander whose life-project making sociological portraits of Germans from all classes and occupations provided the methodological and affective structure for the Bechers’ own typological procedure and a logical alternative to the affective load given alternately in the sentimental identification and scornful disidentification adopted by their humanist predecessors. The second major influence, the source for the distinctive subject matter they chose to apply Sander’s system to, was the industrial iconography popular with many photographers and artists in the 1920s and 1930s. They might have had in mind one of the many well-known photographs by Renger-Patzsch, such as his Intersecting Braces of a Truss Bridge from 1928, for example, but it could have just as well been photography by Charles Sheeler or Margaret Bourke-White or László Moholy-Nagy or many, many others equally and less well known.

Here are some of the doorways ways that I am looking at shoot each one has a different architrave above the door which will separate each image for the typology, the second typology for the studio is going to be using commemorative silver coins with values between £2.00 and £5.00 on a black or blue material background and shot with  an overhead flash and some side lighting in the studio and a 50 mm macro 2.8f lenses.

The images below are an example of the Doorways that I wish to shoot but in more detail and with more care to provide the best I possibly can for this project.

Other artists, I looked at who created typologies or (Studies of Type) were

Jeff Brouws

American Typologies – Freshly Painted Houses by Jeff Brouws

Rachel Been

Chocolate Bar Cross Section by Rachel Been

James Mollison

James and other Apes by James Mollison

Kevin Bauman

100 Abandoned Houses in Detroit in the mid-90s by Kevin Bauman

I also found other artists who were influenced by the Becher school they are mainly German photographers including:

Laurenz Berges, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Axel Hütte, Simone Nieweg

Thomas Ruff is a German photographer who lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany. He shares a studio on Düsseldorf’s Hansaallee, with other German photographers Laurenz Berges, Andreas Gursky and Axel Hütte. The studio, a former municipal electricity station, was converted between 1998 and 2000 by architects Herzog & de Meuron, of Tate Modern fame, and updated with a basement gallery in 2011.

Thomas Struth is a German photographer who is best known for his Museum Photographs, family portraits and 1970s black and white photographs of the streets of Düsseldorf and New York.

Petra Wunderlich studied 1985-1988 with Thomas Ruff, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Axel Hütte, and Thomas Struth on Bernd and Hilla Becher in Dusseldorf. She is a professor of photography at the University of Lucerne, Department of Art and Design. She became known internationally with her series of Stone Quarries.

Idris Khan 

The work that influenced me the most was that of British artist Idris Khan and how he uses layering of the same image taken from different prospectives to build up what I think looks like a pencil sketch of a build or tower, Khan has also created images by layering pieces of sheet music, layering pieces of text and photographs of St Pauls in London and what looks to be a group family photograph as you can see below. This is the kind of style of work I am fascinated by just because to means it just seems so different to everything else.


I also looked at using a typology to look at different coins as seen from this collection of images below which I used for reference for my own piece, an example of which can be seen below.

Here are my test shots for the studio typology which is of commemorative coins just got to find last two and set to go.

What I did not realize was just how difficult it would be to light brand new commemorative coins for a typology as you can see from the test images above I was not able to get the definition I wanted maybe if I had tried using one softbox to the right-hand side of the coins and used a flag or reflector on the right to re-direct the light back into the coins to create more definition on the left-hand side of the engravings.

Here are some of the images of doors I took for my typology another three more images will be added to take the number up to nine a balanced number for a typology It was not just the door I wanted to photography but the architrave around the doors as well as this kind of sets a historical feel to the doors with other architectural designs around them I used a Sony A5000 with 16-50 mm lens to shoot these doorways as the camera is lightweight and compact it was easier to be more discreet and with it been a mirrorless camera as well there was a reduction in movement whereas If I had used 50 mm on a DSLR to keep the shot stable would have required either a monopod or tripod even though new lens have image stabilisation they are not perfect.

Here are two of my printouts for tomorrow a typology of doors and a door blend both images are A2 in size.


Here are my test shots for the studio typology which is of commemorative coins just got to find last two and set to go.

Because the coins are brand new never out of the sleeves before I am having some difficulty in balancing the light so that I can get an even spread across the coins without getting very shiny highlights so I tried a diffuser and pulling the light back to increase the fall off. The reason I shot all the coins together was each coin is a slightly different colour and brightness so I was hoping shooting them all with the same light might give me an idea on how high and far away the lights want to be placed before the final shoot.

Here are my images for the typology I have created using Lens both Nikon F, M42 and PB mount.

Below are the blend or layer for the lenses and the actual typology of the nine lenses I selected for studio part of this assignment.


Lighting Setup 1

I used my Nikon D7100 with a Nikkor 50 mm G lens to take the images of the lenses with a flash trigger on the camera and an off camera flash gun set at 1/128th power and a zoom of 50 mm held at a distance of approximately two to two and a half feet from the subject with a diffuser I was trying to avoid flooding the lenses with to much light when taking the shot the lens was set at F1.8 and depth of field to infinity so there was a nice blurring of the background sheet I used and also so that I could keep only the parts I wanted to focus on clear.

The pieces I created reflect the interest I found in Jeff Brouws and Kevin Bauman works with some of Idris Khan’s ideas on blending. Meaning historically my pieces fit in with these modern works even though they are linked to Bernd & Hilla Becher’s work as well.


Initially, this assignment was something I personally was interested in doing, because photographing similar objects over again I found quite monotonous, maybe that was because I did not have a clear view in my mind as to what I wanted to do and did not realise just many subjects/objects could be photographed in a typological way.

After doing some research I became aware very quickly about how now varied this subject matter could be from collections of badges to stamps, street lights, directional signs etc. Now I am looking at maybe carrying on with some form of typological project as to what the subject matter might be I do not know as of yet but I will keep looking for things, in regard to the Idris Khan work I am really interested in seeing what I could actually create using this technique of blending images its something I need to research further and to see if other artists are using similar techniques with either software or other media.

I think the main thing I have learned from this assignment is that you can take your time and be careful in what subject matter you select because doing the same as everyone else show my lack of imagination, which is what happens when you just rush into a project and to select the things that interest you like different aftershave bottles, different Whiskey/Wine or Sake bottles with interest label designs on them.

On reflection, I think I could have done a much better job if I had taken time and not just written it off as something I was not interested in, as far as the lenses shoot went in the studio well I think I need to get some better backgrounds and maybe as white product table and a better selection of lenses, I think I should have also double or at least tripled the number of doorways I photographed as it would have allowed me a much great choice of images to use for the final output presentations.

I the long run I am happy with the results of this assignment but again improvement can be made and typology could actually become something I would enjoy doing.