August Sander, Part Three
August Sander (1876–1964) was a German portrait and documentary photographer. He has been described as “the most important German portrait photographer of the early twentieth century”.
In 1911, Sander began with the first series of portraits for his work “People of the 20th Century”. In this series, he aims to show a cross-section of society during the Weimar Republic. August Sander became renowned for this work in which he put together hundreds of portraits of people from different levels of society and occupational groups in a series of portfolios developed in a project spanning decades. The series is divided into seven sections: The Farmer, The Skilled Tradesman, Woman, Classes and Professions, The Artists, The City, and The Last People (homeless persons, veterans, etc.). By 1945, Sander’s archive included over 40,000 images.
This portrait of a notary presents an unusual composition within the scope of its portfolio ‘The Judge and the Attorney’, and its larger group ‘Classes and Professions’, in August Sander’s ambitious project ‘People of the 20th Century’. Sander divided his photographic opus of more than 500 images into seven groups, made up of 45 portfolios classified according to the estates, professions and living environments of the German people. While many of the images taken after 1920 are studio portraits or set within the workplace, this outdoor image presents some external narrative detail. Perhaps at his subject’s behest, Sander photographed the notary standing before the stairwell leading to his home, his Doberman Pinscher poised at right angles before him, investing the scene with anticipation and dynamic tension. Attired in a walking coat and hat, and holding a walking stick and the dog’s rolled-up leash, the notary is here pictured far from his professional arena.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: August Sander
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur
August Sander Foundation