Timm Rautert was on the run with his mother in 1944 at the age of three, and the last train from West Prussia brought them to West Germany. They settled in Fulda. From 1957 onwards, Rautert attended a Catholic boarding school there and subsequently completed training as a window dresser, type and poster painter. In 1965 Rautert took part in the summer academy in Salzburg founded by Oskar Kokoschka in 1953, and from 1966 studied photography under Otto Steinert at the Folkwangschule für Gestaltung in Essen. In 1971 he left the university and received the Folkwang Prize for the best diploma of his year. Rautert's first solo exhibition took place in 1972 at the photo gallery of the Staatliche Landesbildstelle in Hamburg. Between 1968 and 1974, in collaboration with the art historian Manfred Schmalriede, he created the series "Bildanalytische Fotografie" ("Picture Analytical Photography"), which was first exhibited in 1973 at the Spectrum Photogalerie in Hanover. From 1969 Rautert travelled to the US, where he met Walter De Maria and Andy Warhol, among others. From 1970 he worked as a photojournalist for the "Zeit-Magazin" and the magazine "Publik". In 1971 he showed his first film at the International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen. Together with the author Michael Holzach, Rautert published reports on social topics in the 1970s and 1980s, including "Deutschland umsonst − Zu Fuß und ohne Geld durch ein Wohlstandsland" (Germany for free − on foot and without money through a land of prosperity; Hamburg, 1982) and "Zeitberichte" (Munich 1985). Since the 1970s, Rautert has also worked for clients in industry and commerce, including Bayerische Rückversicherung, Lufthansa and BMW. From 1978 to 1981 Rautert worked as a photographer for the magazine "Geo". From 1992 he worked together with the scientists and authors Ulrich Beck, Wilhelm Vossenkuhl and Ulf Erdmann Ziegler on the project "own life. Ausflüge in die unbekannte Gesellschaft, in der wir leben" ("Excursions into the unknown society in which we live"), which was realised both as a publication (Munich, 1995) and an international travelling exhibition by the Goethe-Institut in 1995. Rautert showed his work in solo exhibitions, among others, at: Kunstverein in Hamburg (1974), Museum Folkwang, Essen (1980), Ruhrlandmuseum Essen/Landesmuseum für Technik und Arbeit, Mannheim (1992), Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig/Sprengel Museum Hannover/Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn (2006−2008), Forum für Fotografie Köln (2010) and Kupferstichkabinett der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (2016). His work has also been shown in numerous group exhibitions, among them: "Unterwegs zum Paradies. 3. Weltausstellung der Photographie" (travelling exhibition, 1973), "Photography as Art − Art as Photography/Fotografie als Kunst − Kunst als Fotografie" (Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône/Fotoforum Kassel, 1975/76), "Künstler verwenden Fotografie" (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Stuttgart, 1982), "Der verzeichnete Prometheus. Kunst, Design, Technik. Zeichen verändern die Wirklichkeit" (Museum Folkwang, Essen/Museum für Gestaltung, Basel, 1988/89), "Die Zweite Schöpfung. Bilder der industriellen Welt vom 18. Jahrhundert bis in die Gegenwart" (Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, 2002), "Street and Studio. An Urban History of Photography" (Tate Modern, London, 2008), "(Mis)Understanding Photography. Werke und Manifeste" (Museum Folkwang, Essen, 2014) and "The Camera Exposed" (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2016). From 1993 to 2008 Rautert was Professor of Photography at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig, among his students were Ricarda Roggan, Sebastian Stumpf and Tobias Zielony. Rautert was the first photographer to receive the Lovis Corinth Prize in 2008 and was honored for his life's work.