Michael Schmidt – Waffenruhe (German edition)
Koenig Books London – 2018
Michael Schmidt uses atmosphere-laden details with high-contrast black-and-white images of cityscapes, details in nature, and portraits in “Waffenruhe” to create a subjective, leaden picture of a still-divided city. He no longer deploys the techniques of pure documentation, but brings together surprising combinations of images to express a generation’s dystopian sense of life shortly before the fall of the Wall. Schmidt evokes a world of ruptures and absences that eschews a confident, comprehensive point of view. The images work with Schleef’s text to create a brusque, entirely individual perspective on the fragility of human existence.
The first edition, published in 1987 by the Berlin-based Dirk Nishen Verlag quickly sold out and continues to fetch high prices on the antiquarian book market. Thirty years later, “Waffenruhe” is now being reprinted. This artist’s book – often included on lists of the most influential photographic books of all time – is once again being made available.
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