It was with immense sadness that we learned of the death of the great Berlin art photographer Michael Schmidt on Saturday 24 May. Three days previously he was awarded the Prix Pictet for Lebensmittel, his monumental exploration of the food industry. The award was presented in his absence by Kofi Annan at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London where Schmidt’s series is exhibited alongside the works of the photographers shortlisted for the Prix Pictet.
Schmidt was long admired for his stark and powerful photographs, his visual intelligence and the impactful messages he conveyed with the simple means of straight photography. He saw the world with clarity, precision and without sentimentality and his work continues to provide inspiration for many younger artists. We are honoured to show Michael Schmidt’s series at the Museum and to be able to showcase it throughout the world as part of the Prix Pictet tour, celebrating his achievement and paying tribute to one of the most important artists of our times, and we convey our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Martin Roth (Director), Martin Barnes (Senior Curator, Photographs), Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Stephen Barber (Chairman, Prix Pictet; Group Managing Director of Pictet and Head of Group Corporate Communications)
Michael Benson (Director, Prix Pictet)