1967 born in St. Gallen, Switzerland
1992 M.A. in International Relations, University St. Gallen
1997 Ph.D. in Social Sciences, University Konstanz
2001-2003 Scholarship of the Swiss National Science Foundation
lives and works in China and Switzerland
Since childhood, Matthias Messmer discovered his curiosity for the diversity of Lebenswelten. It has inspired him to combine a thoughtful base he obtained in his academic career with his creative work in both photography and writing. The visual approach with a humane angle has become a central element to Messmer’s study of the world. His images are mainly conceived in the tradition of social documentary photography, but often capture an atmosphere transcending ordinary reportage pictures.
Messmer is the author (together with Hsin-Mei Chuang) of the illustrative volume China’s Vanishing Worlds: Countryside, Traditions and Cultural Spaces (MIT Press, 2013). Further monographs include Jewish Wayfarers in Modern China: Tragedy and Splendor (Routledge, 2012) and China: Schauplätze west-östlicher Begegnungen (Böhlau, 2007).