Ute Behrend began her career with bare hands, she worked as a carpenter. Soon she followed her arts calling and studied photo design with Andre Gelbke in Dortmund.
In 1990 she received a DAAD scholarship for the then still existing GDR in Leipzig, where she studied at university of graphic and book art. In 1993 she completed her studies with a diploma in Dortmund. 1996 the Scalo Verlag published her very first book, "Girls some Boys and other Cookies". Ever since several awards acknowledged Behrend’s work, for example, the Foundation Kunstfond Scholarship, Toyota-Photography Art Prize 2004 and the Dr. Dormagen-Guffanti Scholarship.
Ute Behrend forces reality into a concept of two images that belong together. She often works with pairs that merge to form picture narratives. Her compositions create associative spaces that point beyond the individual picture. The affiliation of the images and spaces is pure fiction, the line found in it and which continues in the next is the setting and meaning only given by the photographer. Like a forensic scientist she reassembles the world, to find meaning in the pieces of the puzzle. Space structure and projection become a spiral of relativity. In Behrend's work, colours and forms, nature and culture, destruction and beauty emerge on an equal footing. Consistency and change go hand in hand. Everything happens on the thin ice of experiencing reality. The pictorial language seems at first clear and direct, but the supposedly universal vocabulary conceals many Secrets and deceptive visual abysses.
In her last book “Bärenmädchen / Beargirls“ she tells the story of girls growing into women. It’s the story of a tribe using bearskins to protect girls from premature sexualization. Patterns and rhythm of picture grow into that story, a story of beauty, fear, pride, hide and seek. Pure fiction and still pointing a reality to its essence.
Behrend’s photographs and video installations have been exhibited internationally, and are included in many public collections, such as the Kasper König Collection, Sprengel Museum, Kunstmuseum Mühlheim an der Ruhr, Deichtorhallen Collection FC Gundlach, among others. Her work has been the subject of five monographs: Girls, some Boys and other Cookies (Scalo Publishers, 1996), Märchen / Fairy Tales ( Walter Koenig, Koeln, 2006), Zimmerpflanzen ( Snoeck, 2008), The last Year of Childhood (Powershovel Books, 2011), Bärenmädchen / Bear Girls (BummBumm Books, 2019).