Axel Hütte was born in the German city of Essen in 1951. He studied photography in Düsseldorf Art Academy from 1973 to 1981, attending Bernd Becher’s class. He received a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service to study in London and in 1985 a scholarship to study at the German Study Center in the Palazzo Barbarigo della Terrazza in Venice. From 1986 to 1988 he was the recipient of a Karl Schmidt-Rottluff scholarship.
In 1993, Hütte received the Hermann Claasen Prize for Creative Photography. Since then, he has been working as a freelance photographer. He shares a studio with Andreas Gursky and Thomas Ruff. He is considered one of five main representatives of the Düsseldorf School of Photography.