Before people began to appear in his photographs, Thomas Struth trained his camera on facades and empty streets, where passers-by would slowly appear. Struth began "sculpting with light" in 1976, when the apprentice artist broke off his study of the painterly aspects of surface under Gerhard Richter, in order to attend the class of Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art and practise how to photograph the actual state of things through the eyes of a painter. During his scholarship year in New York, he would gaze into the early-morning emptiness of the canyons between the buildings of the Big Apple. He later did the same in Paris with its rows of apartment houses, high-rise buildings like pile-dwellings (totems), historic city districts - and then, gradually, the views of the city's busy streets and public squares. When Struth abandoned these in order to penetrate into the interiors of houses and to photograph upper-class families in poses they chose themselves, he also produced at the same time the famous series in which he observed the public in the great museums. Here, Struth's camera approaches the visitors in the same way as they approach the paintings: with interest and fascination, but also with a certain astonishment and indifference, and a degree of exhaustion and obliviousness. The portraitist remained at a distance.