Waffenruhe, a now classic photobook by Michael Schmidt (1945–2014), was first published in 1987 by the Berlin-based Dirk Nishen Verlag. It quickly sold out and continues to fetch high prices on the antiquarian book market; it is reprinted here for the first time. The book is Schmidt’s portrait of a still-divided Berlin: it brings together surprising combinations of high-contrast, black-and-white images to express a generation’s dystopian sense of life shortly before the fall of the Wall. Schmidt evokes a world of ruptures and absences that eschews any comprehensive perspective.
The images combine with a text by author and director Einar Schleef to create a brusque, entirely individual vision of the fragility of human existence. A book that is regularly included among the most influential photographic books of the 20th century.