Michael Schmidt. LEBENSMITTEL

Temporary exhibitions

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  • Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - Sunday, June 16, 2019

The LEBENSMITTEL [Foodstuffs] photobook and exhibition project by the German photographer Michael Schmidt (born in Berlin, in 1945) comprises 177 photographs, taken between 2006 and 2010, on twenty-six trips around Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, and Spain. The photographs were shot at feedlots and slaughterhouses, fish farms and commercial greenhouses, fruit farms and vegetable plantations, pasta factories and cheese dairies, as well as at various plants processing meat, potatoes, and insects.

Schmidt’s portrayal of modern-day food production is not explicitly damning; it poses more questions than it answers. In many photographs, a granular focus on detail makes it difficult to identify the type of food being depicted. In the process, the series demonstrates the extent to which food production has become standardised, mechanised, and industrialised while churning out fodder for the masses. In the past, consumers knew where their food came from and how it was made. Today, food production is carried out covertly, behind closed doors, and governed by the dictates of efficiency. There is little scope for individuality.

With LEBENSMITTEL, Schmidt for the first time included colour images alongside his distinctive black-and-white photography in order to convey the food industry’s striving for aesthetic perfection and the materiality of food packaging. In 2014, shortly before his death, Schmidt won the prestigious Prix Pictet award for the project.

In Main Programme of Krakow Photomonth 2019

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