Michael Schmidt (1945-2014) German photographer Michael Schmidt became known as a master of narrative. Born on the East side of Berlin, Schmidt moved with his family to the West shortly before the wall went up. The psychological effects of the construction and later tearing down of the wall became a central theme in his work, which he rendered in shades of grey, preferring the darkest and lightest greys to true black-and-white. Schmidt would devote several years to a project, photographing prolifically and then editing meticulously. His seminal work Waffenruhe, which was published as a book and exhibited as a solo show at MoMA in New York, is an atmospheric assemblage of cold, nearly alien details from the urban landscape paired with menacing portraits of young punks in Berlin. He founded Werkstatt für Fotografie (Workshop for Photography) in 1976 which is credited with bringing some of the most influential American photographers of the day to Berlin. Shortly before his death on May 24, he was awarded the Prix Pictet for his project “Lebensmittel” (Food), an exhaustive documentation of the food industry comprised of 177 images made over a period of six years.
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