Schmidt~Michael – Waffenruhe*
Author: Michael Schmidt Publisher: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König Year: 2018 ISBN: 978-3-96098-285-2 Softcover, 80 pp., 266 x 301 mm Note: Second (German) edition, With a text supplement to the new edition
Waffenruhe photobook by Michael Schmidt. One of the best photobooks of all time. In contrast to the consciously sober – but far from clinical images of his earlier series, 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 Einar 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 re-printed. 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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