August Sander

1876 - 1964
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Considered one of the finest photographers of the 20th century, Sander's bold style of portrait photography, as well as his typological approach, has had an enormous influence on modern photography. During his apprenticeship in several German studios and his time in his own studio in Austria, he developed his individual style. Then in 1910 Sander moved to Cologne and produced his first large group of photographs, which he later included in his concept People of the 20th Century. This was created in the mid-1920s and compiled up until the 1950s. He photographed groups of people in his native Germany, classifying them according to their occupations and positions in society.

... one of the greatest and most influential photographers of the 20th century. For over 40 years Sander photographed individuals and groups of people in his native Germany, classifying them according to their occupations and positions in society. This lifelong attempt to document the German people resulted in the ambitious project entitled People of the 20th Century.

...Sander’s approach was highly methodical and based on an almost sociological analysis of Weimar Germany. He divided his portraits into groups and these in turn were made up of 49 sub-groups or portfolios. Throughout these Sander is at pains to give a truthful picture of his age, photographing all layers of German society from the farmers and country-people, through to the workers, craftsmen, technicians and industrialists in the towns and cities, to people who are sick and disabled.

He photographed all his subjects in a similar fashion, predominantly against a neutral background, rather than in their usual environment, in fairly strong light. They face the camera square-on without any particular expression. The similarity of format allows us to compare and contrast the sitters and to see if any typical characteristics, and indeed differences, emerge....
(https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/artists/august-sander)
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