"But it is more than that. For all its apparent simplicity, the photograph is a statement of dedication to its craft. The late 1980s, when Gursky shot to attention, was a time when photography was first entering gallery spaces, and photographs were taking their place alongside paintings. Photography “as art”, at the time, was still brave and new, and the simplicity of this image shows a great deal of confidence in its effectiveness and potential for creating atmospheric, hyper-real scenarios that in turn teach us to see - and read - the world around us anew. The scale, attention to colour and form of his photography can be read as a deliberate challenge to painting's status as a higher art form. On top of that, Gursky’s images are extraordinary technical accomplishments, which take months to set up in advance, and require a lot of digital doctoring to get just right."
"Justifying this manipulation of the image, Gursky said "Paradoxically, this view of the Rhine cannot be obtained in situ, a fictitious construction was required to provide an accurate image of a modern river." Gursky produced a very large chromogenic colour print of the photograph, mounted it onto acrylic glass, and then placed it in a frame - 81-151"."
If you think this is about the composition you're clueless. Have you ever even looked at it?
">A photo literally based upon the subdivision of the frame into horizontal layers in varying widths">varying widths
If it were 3 color blocks broken up evenly, instead of varying widths, so that it had some Rothko-like appeal, this could be true, but as it is? No, you idiot, it's no more impressed linear rendition than shooting parallel to the shoulder of a road. It's not hard. It's not technically demanding. You just have to hold the camera straight.
Gursky shot this and stitched it together from many, many frames. That's why it's such a large print. It's not upscaled. It's stitched. And it was done before 60mp stitching was ez