Photography – Stephan Schmidt

When the first train left a trail of smoke in the countryside the milk of the cows turned sour.

When photography was invented, it was seen as a threat or insult to the art of painting.

But if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, one must be blind not to want to see it. The painter squeezes colours and brushes forms into the frame of the imagined world he sees with the lense of his eye. If the painter is servile, he will just report his viewpoint and project it.

A painter will never paint in the dark. Claire obscure is the closest he can get to the unseen. The painter is his own machine of horror and beauty, whatever moment he strives to immortalize or point of view he wants to propagate.

The photographer hides his eye in the lense of his camera and frames his chosen part and/or moment of the Panta Rei. Heracleitos stated that one can never jump into the same river twice.

Therefore a photograph is writing history in a one take split second. No second opinion possible. Traditionally shot in negative and developed in darkness, a photograph could be copied endlessly and in different ways. The unique beauty of the moment the eye couldn’t behold by it’s self will not change though.. So there is more beauty than in the eye of the beholder.

In the digital realm it is a different story. Photographs are called pics, they are pixel-skins of a relentlessly more and more detailed dehumanized observation. Reality nearly becoming virtual. One has to believe one’s eyes.

Freud said that the painter is a child playing with it’s excrements. I suppose the painter eats what he sees first. The photographer shoots the moment in the momentum, and frames the reference to what surrounds the suggestion of a complete world.

Photoschmidt ventures beyond that. In the haunting claire obscure of his nightshots he releases what is absent. Industry without action, machines without masters, static silent signs of human activity as if no human ever existed. Obscure vacuum of emotion in the claire of perfect desolation.

A space odyssey into the eye past beauty as duty. “Photoschmidt wasn’t here”. Machines are man-made but don’t need them. Photoschmidt‘s patience and restless perfectionism is exploited well by the night shots coming into existence.

When confronted by them, there is a pleasant way to get lost.

By the way: the milk of cows don’t need trains to turn sour.

During daytime Photoschmidt has a totally different approach to reality. With his car bondage photographs he shows the car being human. Momentum surpassing the moment. And yeah: “Silence is sexy”.

Henri van Zanten, 2012