Marian Schmidt is mainly known as a figurative photographer, but his latest images break away from this principle. They are rather abstract, symbolic, enigmatic.
He is a representative of humanistic photography. He traveled in many corners around the world photographing people, concentrating on expressing their emotional experiences. At the same time, he managed to express his own state of mind. He claims that photographs will not be at a high level, if the photographer himself, while taking pictures, does not achieve an inner calm, a silence of the mind, a state of contemplation.
Schmidt studied several branches of science and art. He was greatly influenced by his studies of phenomenology of music with the Romanian conductor Sergiu Celibidache, and also by his own research in mathematics at Brandeis University, near Boston, where he received his Ph.D. Of unusual importance to his formation were also a sojourn with the Indian sage Jiddu Krishnamurti and a thorough reading of Hermann Hesse’s writings. All of these experiences inspired him to seek truth instead of only beauty in art and lead him to abstract photography. According to Celibidache, beauty in art is only a bait. But are Schmidt’s new photographs just abstractions? What is hidden behind those enigmatic images?
Marian Schmidt photographs stones, rocks, gravestones, close-ups of trees, which through his lens acquire an additional meaning, a higher dimension. He acknowledges the influence of American photographers Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Minor White and the latter’s student Paul Caponigro. Their aim was to find the unusual in what is apparently usual, the sacred in the profane. According to Stieglitz and White, photography should be a mirror of the photographer’s soul. Schmidt has his own way of observing and does it with special care. In his abstract fragments of reality, it is possible to see human figures and even find stories. Some of his images recall subtle Far Eastern paintings.
Schmidt has created his own version of the Zone System, a technique of exposing and developing negatives which opens new horizons in photography. It allows to change the tonal values of subjects found in reality, in such a way as to make them look unreal, mysterious and at the same time excite our imagination. Such photographs demand in their perception a greater effort and concentration from the public. They may be road signs leading us to a subtle world of sensitivity.