August Sander (1876-1964) was the most significant of German photographers in the first half of this century. From 1910 until 1934, he vigorously pursued a visual documentation project: “Citizen of the 20th Century.” His ambitious portrait series was intended to make viewers aware of the social and cultural dimensions as well as the stratifications of real life.
During military service, August Sander was an assistant in a photographic studio in Trier; he then spent the following two years working in various studios elsewhere. By 1904 he had opened his own studio in Linz, Austria, where he met with success. He moved to a suburb of Cologne in 1909 and soon began to photograph the rural farmers nearby. Around three years later Sander abandoned his urban studio in favor of photographing in the field, finding subjects along the roads he travelled by bicycle.
The performers of a travelling circus.
A small brother and sister, in their best clothes to be photographed.
A smartly-dressed young Jewish man.
A young woman modestly dressed, her hair tightly braided.
Child, dog, and bicycle. Taken in a rural district.
A modern artist, posing in front of her work in progress.
A faming family with their oxen.
This is a bricklayer’s labourer, carrying bricks in a frame.
The passing nun was happy to pose for him.
A stern looking man on a deserted city street.
This father brought his sons to be photographed with him. They look undernourished.
Children in the countryside with a prize sheep.
Serious young boys, immaculately dressed.
A working-class woman with her baby.
The farmer sowing seed in his field.
A young woman captured at her window.
Two sisters, possibly twins.
This man is living on the city streets, but is still quite smartly-dressed.
Three sisters on a city corner.