FERENZ SCHMIDT: Germans
6 June – 29 June 2012
6 June – 29 June 2012
Opening: Wednesday, 6 June at 8 pm
KUD atelje Mikado Ljubljana
As seen in retrospect, Ferenz Schmidt‘s photographs are valuable documents of the atmosphere in postwar Munich and Germany. His photographs reveal him as a sophisticated observer of daily life, who had an exceptional gift to catch the right moment with a great sense for composition of a painter. Staged or “manufactured” photography did not concern him. Schmidt’s photographs may be compared to Zen or poetry, where the moment of expression can be only precise after long and good preparation. Ferenz Schmidt understood and used the technology of photography for his expression.
Ferenz Schmidt was born in Budapest in May 1934. As a student on Budapest Film Academy he was showing interest in human nature and destiny by reading novels, mainly classics, like Dostoyevsky, Cervantes, Dante and Homer and published some short stories. He also read Marxist literature and developed a sense for social questions which, together with his explosive character, made him a radical student. When in 1956 the Soviet Army invaded Hungary and protests were brutally stopped, Ferenz was arrested together with a group of resisting students. He was told that he had to leave the country in 24 hours otherwise he will remain in prison. He left Hungary. Via Vienna he arrived in Munich in early 1957, at the age of 23. By chance he met his uncle, who became his supporter. He noticed the artistic talents of the young refugee and encouraged him to join the Munich school of photojournalism. Ferenz Schmidt’s artistic expressions were changing: from literature towards photography.
During his studies Schmidt had to do reportages, as well as observations of daily life. His hunting grounds were streets and parks of Munich and Paris, beer gardens, tunnels under the central railway station of Munich, where he was shooting homeless people, people discussing, couples in love or a Christmas charity in a restaurant. In 1962 his very short, only three years long, photographic career ended. He was hired by the news office of Bavarian Television for a routine work of a cameraman, but hoping that one day he will work with directors such as Fellini, Bergman or Cocteau, who as a gesture of sympathy put a signature on his Leica M2. Occasionally, he was shooting celebrities of that time such as Frederico Fellini and Gina Lolobrigida. Schmidt died tragically in a traffic accident in 1972.
To end using Cartier Bresson’s words: Ferenz Schmidt knew when to press the button, when the decisive moments happen.