Michael Schmidt. Lebensmittel

Lebensmittel, which roughly translates to ‘foodstuff’, took Schmidt seven years to complete. Over this time, he travelled the globe photographing factory farms, industrial slaughterhouses and supermarkets as well as individual items such as mangos. He also focused on single studies with more depth, such as a stooping farmer and packed mince.

The book project has a heavyweight tone, presenting the food industry in a way one doesn’t normally see. It is important to Schmidt to send a message through his work, the individual images demand objective consideration. From looking at my prints, the grey tonal balance and compositions seem to be similar. Although there was no underlying distressing meaning behind my frames, ones such as the ‘Fresh Chicken’ cant help but speak to the viewer about the process that chicken had been through.

“For example, if I am arranging a double page spread, it is important for me that one plus one equals three. A third, invisible image has got to impose itself in between. That is to say, two pictures are combined to form an argument and a third picture results from it.” Schmidt

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When presented in a gallery, the carefully selected bright tones draw the eyes in to the grid. But for example, the green apple is most striking to me, placed next to a pig. It makes me question the types of food we eat and the sustainability of it, as the image of the pig creates a guilty feeling next to the apple. But even the bright foods have not been photographed to look enticing, the burgers compared to adverts of burgers are at a strong contrast.



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