Michael Schmidt (1945–2014) occupies a unique position in contemporary German photography. Born in Berlin and with no formal training in photography, in the mid-1960s he discovered the medium as a form of artistic expression. For each of his series, Schmidt developed an individual photographic method of accessing reality.

This retrospective at the Hamburger Bahnhof presents his life’s work chronologically, and is the first survey exhibition of the photographer in his hometown of Berlin in 25 years. Along with the series Waffenruhe (1987), Ein-heit (1996), Lebensmittel (2012) and other original photographs, unpublished working prints, book drafts and archive material illustrate the development of Schmidt’s artistic work, which has been seminal for a younger generation of photographers due to its continual exploration and innovation.

The exhibition has been generously supported by the Savings Banks Finance Group (Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe), the main sponsor of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (represented by Berlin Hyp, Berliner Sparkasse, DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale, Deutsche Leasing, Feuersozietät Berlin Brandenburg, Finanz Informatik, NORD/LB Kulturstiftung, Savings Banks Cultural Fund of the German Savings Banks Association, and the Sparkassenverband Westfalen- Lippe) and is made possible through the Capital Culture Fund.

A special exhibition of the Nationalgalerie of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in cooperation with the Stiftung für Fotografie und Medienkunst with the Archiv Michael Schmidt.