Circus workers, Cologne, ca. 1926

aka. Indian Man and German Woman
August Sander, part six

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Zirkusarbeiter, Köln, 1926 (Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv)

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”. August Sander took a methodological approach in his monumental documentary project People of the 20th Century. He classified his photographs into seven groups and multiple sub-groups, reflecting the social structures and developments of his time. This portrait is from the portfolio entitled ‘Travelling People – Fair and Circus’ within the sixth group, ‘The City’. It is one of a series of photographs that August Sander took of performers and other members of the famous Barum Circus. Between 1926 and 1929 the circus toured the Rhineland cities of Dortmund, Remscheid and Cologne. Sander portrayed the circus people as representatives of a certain urban type that he named ‘travelling people’, which also included vagrants and gypsies. The caravans, tents and makeshift domestic environments depicted in the photographs of the members of the Barum Circus emphasise the nomadic nature of their lives. During the Weimar era (1918–33) circus caravans wound their way across Germany, occupying urban wastelands and other ‘in-between’ spaces, momentarily revitalising them as sites of wonder, exoticism and permissiveness. In the popular culture of Sander’s Germany, the mobile circus milieu was synonymous with ‘dangerous’ and ‘primitive’ types – particularly gypsies and people of colour. Sander’s dispassionate circus shots feature both these ‘types’. Historians have used them to illustrate the photographer’s liberal values, values that led to his victimisation under Nazism.
The Circus Barum was founded in 1878 by the East Prussian animal dealer Carl Froese in Konigsberg as Barum’s American Caravan menagerie. After the death of Carl Froese in 1907, his daughter Helene took over the management together with her husband, the animal trainer Arthur Kreiser. From 1935, Margarete Kreiser-Barum, the daughter of Kreisers, continued the family business. She run the circus successfully through the years of the Second World War until it was destroyed in a bomb attack in 1944. In 1946, she dared a new beginning and toured with a new Circus Barum until her death in 1970.  In 1972, Gerd Siemoneit-Barum bought the circus and directed it until 2008. On 26 October 2008 the last performance of the Circus Barum took place in Northeim. Rebecca Siemoneit-Barum and her company Barum & Bauer Performance GmbH took over a part of the animal stock and staff. Since 2012, she is presenting the “Circus Barum Weihnachtsspektakel” in Gottingen.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: August Sander
Tate Papers, Katherine Tubb: “Face to Face? An Ethical Encounter with Germany’s Dark Strangers in August Sander’s People of the Twentieth Century”
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur
August Sander Foundation
Tate, London
Wikipedia: Circus Barum (in German)

See also my other posts about August Sander’s work
Widower with his sons, Cologne, 1914
Confirmation candidate, 1911
The Notary, Cologne, 1924
National Socialist, Germany, 1937
Officer
Cadet, Germany, 1944

Save

Officer Cadet, Germany, 1944

August Sander, part five

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Fahnenjunker, Deutschland, 1944 (Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv)

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”.
August Sander became renowned for this work ‘People of the 20th Century’, 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 reflecting the social structures and developments of his time: The Farmer, The Skilled Tradesman, Woman, Classes and Professions, The Artists, The City, and The Last People (homeless persons, veterans, etc.). In 1945, Sander’s archive included over 40,000 images, but an accidental fire a year later destroyed most of them. Sander practically ceased to work as a photographer after World War II. He died in Cologne in 1964.
The world’s largest collection of work by August Sander, is located at Die Photographische Sammlung der Kulturstiftung der Sparkasse KölnBonn.

OFFICER CADET
This portrait of an officer cadet is from the portfolio entitled ‘The Soldier’ within the group ‘Classes and Professions’ from series People of the 20th Century. The young man is awarded with a wound badge.
The Wound Badge (German: Verwundetenabzeichen) was a military decoration first promulgated by Wilhelm II, German Emperor on 3 March 1918, which was awarded to wounded or frostbitten soldiers of the Imperial German Army, during World War I. Between the world wars, it was awarded to members of the German armed forces who fought on the Nationalist side of the Spanish Civil War, 1938–39, and received combat related wounds. It was awarded to members in the Reichswehr, the Wehrmacht, SS and the auxiliary service organizations during the Second World War. After March 1943, due to the increasing number of Allied bombings, it was also awarded to wounded civilians in air raids. It was awarded when the wound was the result of enemy hostile action, with an exception being for frostbite.
The badge had three classes:
Black (3rd class, representing Iron), for those wounded once or twice by hostile action (including air raids).
Silver (2nd class) for being wounded three or four times.
Gold (1st class, which could be awarded posthumously) for five or more times wounded.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: August Sander
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur
August Sander Foundation
Wikipedia: Ranks and insignia of the German Army (1935-1945)

Wikipedia: Wound Badge

See also my other posts about August Sander’s work
Widower with his sons, Cologne, 1914
Confirmation candidate, 1911
The Notary, Cologne, 1924
The National Socialist, Germany, 1937

Save

National Socialist, Cologne, 1937

August Sander, part four

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Nationalsozialist, Köln,1937 (Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv)

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 1929, Sander published his book “Face of our Time” (Antlitz der Zeit), a selection of 60 portraits, from his series People of the 20th Century. In this series, he aims to show a cross-section of society during the Weimar Republic.
Under the Nazi regime, his work and personal life were greatly constrained. Sander’s book was seized in 1936 and the photographic plates destroyed. His son Erich, who was a member of the left wing Socialist Workers’ Party (SAP), was arrested in 1934 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, where he died in 1944, shortly before the end of his sentence. Around 1942, during World War II, Sander left Cologne and moved to a rural area, allowing him to save most of his negatives. His studio was destroyed in a 1944 bombing raid. Thirty thousand of Sander’s roughly forty-thousand negatives survived the war, only to perish in an accidental fire in Cologne in 1946. Sander practically ceased to work as a photographer after World War II. He died in Cologne in 1964.

THE NATIONAL SOCIALIST
This photograph of a seated National Socialist Party member (sergeant of the SA paramilitary group) is the first in the portfolio entitled ‘The National Socialists’ within the group ‘Classes and Professions’, in August Sander’s major project ‘People of the 20th Century’. Sander’s ambition in this project, which he conceived in the 1920s, was to create a typology of the German people during his lifetime that would function as a scientific documentation for future generations. He organised more than 500 photographs into seven groups and over 45 portfolios, classified by the categories of estate, profession and, in this case, political affiliation. Here the subject leans back in his chair, a swastika cufflink just visible in sharp focus peeking out from underneath his brown uniform shirt, and looks confidently into the camera.
National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), more commonly known as Nazism is the ideology and practice associated with the 20th-century German Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) and Nazi Germany, as well as other far-right groups. Nazism characterized as a form of fascism that incorporates scientific racism and anti-Semitism. It was developed out of the influences of Pan-Germanism, the Völkisch German nationalist movement and the anti-communist Freikorps paramilitary groups that emerged during the Weimar Republic after German defeat in World War I.
The Sturmabteilung (SA), literally Storm Detachment, functioned as the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party (NSDAP). It played a significant role in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Their primary purposes were providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies, disrupting the meetings of opposing parties, fighting against the paramilitary units of the opposing parties, especially the Red Front Fighters League (Rotfrontkämpferbund) of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), and intimidating Slavic and Romani citizens, unionists, and Jews – for instance, during the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses. The SA developed pseudo-military titles for its members. The SA ranks were adopted by the Schutzstaffel (SS), which originated as a branch of the SA before being separated. Truppführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was first created in 1930 as a rank of the Sturmabteilung (SA). Translated as “Troop Leader”, the rank of Truppführer was considered the equivalent of a senior sergeant, or sergeant first class. The SA have been known in contemporary times as “Brownshirts” (Braunhemden). Brown-coloured shirts were chosen as the SA uniform because a large batch of them were cheaply available after World War I, having originally been ordered during the war for colonial troops posted to Germany’s former African colonies. In the 1930s, the Hugo Boss Company produced these brown SA shirts along with the all-black SS uniform and the black-and-brown uniforms of the Hitler Youth.
Hugo Ferdinand Boss (1885–1948) was a German fashion designer and businessman. He was the founder of the clothing company Hugo Boss. Boss was born in Metzingen, in the Kingdom of Wurttemberg. He did an apprenticeship as a merchant, completed military service from 1903 to 1905 and worked in a weaving mill in Konstanz. In 1914, he was mobilized into the army and he served through World War I with the rank of corporal. He founded his own clothing company in Metzingen in 1923, producing shirts and jackets and then work-clothing, sportswear and raincoats. In 1928 he became the official supplier of uniforms to the SA, SS, Hitler Youth, National Socialist Motor Corps, and other party organizations. Boss joined the Nazi Party in 1931, and became a sponsoring member of the SS. He also joined the German Labour Front in 1936, the Reich Air Protection Association in 1939, and the National Socialist People’s Welfare in 1941. After joining these organizations, his sales increased from 38,260 Reichsmark (25.393,12 € ($26,993)) in 1932 to over 3,300,000 RM in 1941. After World War II, Boss was fined “a very heavy penalty” of 100,000 DM (66.371,32 € ($70,553)) for his support of Nazism and was not allowed to vote. He died of a tooth abscess in 1948, but his business survived.
In 1999, US lawyers acting on behalf of Holocaust survivors started legal proceedings against the Hugo Boss company over the use of slave labour during the war. The misuse of 140 Polish and 40 French forced workers led to an apology by the company.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: August Sander
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur
August Sander Foundation
Wikipedia: Nazism
Wikipedia: Sturmabteilung
Wikipedia: Truppführer
Wikipedia: Hugo_Boss (fashion designer)
Wikipedia: Hugo_Boss (company)

See also my other posts about August Sander’s work
Widower with his sons, Cologne, 1914
Confirmation candidate, 1911
The Notary, Cologne, 1924

Save

The Notary, Cologne, 1924

August Sander, Part Three

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Notar, Köln, 1924 (Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv)

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.

THE NOTARY
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

See also my other posts about August Sander’s work
Widower with his sons, Cologne, 1914
Confirmation candidate, 1911

Confirmation candidate, Cologne, 1911

August Sander, Part Two

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Confirmation candidate, 1911 (Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv)

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.

“The essence of all photography is the documentary manner” August Sander

CONFIRMATION CANDIDATE
In Christianity, Confirmation is seen as the sealing of the covenant created in Holy Baptism. In some denominations, Confirmation also bestows full membership in a local congregation upon the recipient. In others, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Confirmation “renders the bond with the Church more perfect”, because, while a baptized person is already a member, “reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace”.
Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, and many Anglicans view Confirmation as a sacrament. In the East it is conferred immediately after baptism. In the West, this practice is followed when adults are baptized, but in the case of infants not in danger of death it is administered, ordinarily by a bishop, only when the child reaches the age of reason or early adolescence. Among those Catholics who practice teen-aged Confirmation, the practice may be perceived, secondarily, as a “coming of age” rite.
In Protestant churches, the rite tends to be seen rather as a mature statement of faith by an already baptized person. It is also required by most Protestant denominations for membership in the respective church, in particular for traditional Protestant churches (Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, etc.), in which it is recognized as a coming of age ceremony.
Confirmation is not practiced in Baptist, Anabaptist and other groups that teach believer’s baptism. Thus, the sacrament is administered to converts from non-Christian religions, those aforementioned groups, and nontrinitarian churches.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: August Sander
Wikipedia: Confirmation
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur
August Sander Foundation

See also my other post about August Sander’s work
Widower with his sons, Cologne, 1914

Widower with his sons, Cologne, 1914

AUGUST SANDER, part one

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Witwer mit seinen söhnen, Köln, 1914 (August Sander – Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv)

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”.
Sander was born in Herdorf, the son of a carpenter working in the mining industry. While working at a local mine, Sander first learned about photography by assisting a photographer who was working for a mining company. With financial support from his uncle, he bought photographic equipment and set up his own darkroom.
He spent his military service (1897–99) as a photographer’s assistant and the next years wandering across Germany. In 1901, he started working for a photo studio in Linz, Austria, eventually becoming a partner (1902), and then its sole proprietor (1904). He left Linz at the end of 1909 and set up a new studio in Cologne.
In 1911, Sander began with the first series of portraits for his work “People of the 20th Century”. In the early 1920s, he came in contact with the (Cologne Progressives) a radical group of artists linked to the workers’ movement which, as Wieland Schmied put it, “sought to combine constructivism and objectivity, geometry and object, the general and the particular, avant-garde conviction and political engagement, and which perhaps approximated most to the forward looking of New Objectivity […] “.
Sander’s “Face of our Time” (Antlitz der Zeit) was published in 1929. It contains a selection of 60 portraits from his series 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.
Comparative photography and direct observation are expressions that aptly describe Sander’s methodological approach. They also express his intention to produce representations that were realistic and free of preconceived ideas. In the juxtaposition of series of photographs especially, he saw the possibility of drawing attention to the physiognomies and postures that were typical of different occupational groups, genders and generations as well as to the individuality of their members.
Under the Nazi regime, his work and personal life were greatly constrained. His son Erich, who was a member of the left wing Socialist Workers’ Party (SAP), was arrested in 1934 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, where he died in 1944, shortly before the end of his sentence. Sander’s book Face of our Time was seized in 1936 and the photographic plates destroyed. Around 1942, during World War II, he left Cologne and moved to a rural area, allowing him to save most of his negatives. His studio was destroyed in a 1944 bombing raid. Thirty thousand of Sander’s roughly forty-thousand negatives survived the war, only to perish in an accidental fire in Cologne in 1946. Sander practically ceased to work as a photographer after World War II. He died in Cologne in 1964.

… we know that people are formed by the light and air, by their inherited traits, and their actions. We can tell from appearance the work someone does or does not do; we can read in his face whether he is happy or troubled…” August Sander

The world’s largest collection of work by August Sander, is located at Die Photographische Sammlung der Kulturstiftung der Sparkasse KölnBonn. Including more than 5,000 original prints and around 11,000 original negatives, the work of August Sander is presented to the public in the form of publications and exhibitions.
In 2002, the August Sander Archive and scholar Susanne Lange published a seven-volume collection comprising some 650 of Sander’s photographs, August Sander: People of the 20th Century.
THE WIDOWER
This portrait of a widower is the only acknowledgement of death in the portfolio entitled The Family, though not within the whole of August Sander’s photographic opus ‘People of the 20th Century’ to which it belongs. Significantly, Sander includes it in the group ‘The Woman’, suggesting here that she is present by her absence. The bereaved stand close together, the father looking in three-quarter profile into the right distance, perhaps contemplating this missing figure. Flanking him, their shaved heads echoing his partially bald one, his two boys look back at the photographer. Emphasising the magnitude of his loss, the baby-faced widower appears only slightly taller than his sons, whose matching outfits and short pants suggest that they are still children. The widower photographed here also appears in the photograph ‘The Pastry Cook’ (1928) from the group ‘The Skilled Tradesman’.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: August Sander
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur
August Sander Foundation
National Galleries Scotland

Margot Fonteyn, London, 1935

Emil Otto Hoppé – Part Two
Colorization & Restoration by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization & Restoration by Manos Athanasiadis

Margot Fonteyn, 1935 (Curatorial Assistance, Inc. / E.O. Hoppé Estate Collection)

Margot Fonteyn by E.O.Hoppé, 1935 (Curatorial Assistance, Inc. / E.O. Hoppé Estate Collection)

Dame Margot Fonteyn de Arias, DBE (1919 – 1991), was an English ballerina.
Fonteyn was born Margaret Evelyn Hookham in Reigate, Surrey. Her father, Felix, was a British engineer and her mother, Hilda, was half Irish and half Brazilian, the daughter of Brazilian industrialist Antonio Fontes. Very early in her career Margaret took the name by which she was known all her life, “Margot Fonteyn”, with surname derived from “Fontes”, also adopted by her brother—Portuguese “fonte” is “fountain” in modern English, “fonteyn” in Middle English. Her later formal married name was “Margot Fonteyn de Arias”, in the Spanish-language tradition.
At four years of age her mother signed her and her elder brother up for ballet classes. At age eight, Margot traveled to China with her mother and father, who had taken employment with a tobacco company there. For six years Margot lived in TianJin, then in Shanghai, where she studied ballet with Russian emigre teacher George Goncharov. Her mother brought her back to London when she was 14, to pursue a ballet career.
In 1933 Fonteyn joined the Vic-Wells Ballet School, (later Royal Ballet School) which was founded by Ninette de Valois in 1928.  De Valois believed in Fonteyn’s talent and pushed her through difficult moments.By 1939 Fonteyn had performed principal roles in Giselle, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty and was appointed Prima Ballerina. Until then all leading dancers in Britain had been Russian or French.
In the 1940s she and Robert Helpmann formed a very successful dance partnership, and they toured together for several years. When the Royal Ballet toured the United States in 1949, Fonteyn instantly became a celebrity for her performances. In the 1950s she danced regularly with Michael Somes.
In 1951 Fonteyn was decorated a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and in 1956 she became Dame of the Order of the British Empire, after which she was known as Dame Margot Fonteyn.
Fonteyn began her greatest artistic partnership at a time when many people thought she was about to retire. In 1961 Rudolf Nureyev defected to the West, and on 21 February 1962 he and Fonteyn first performed together in Giselle. She was 42 and he was 24. Their performance was a great success. They created an on-and-offstage partnership that lasted until her retirement in 1979 at age 61. Fonteyn and Nureyev became known for inspiring repeated frenzied curtain calls and bouquet tosses. Despite differences in background and temperament, and a 19-year gap in ages, Nureyev and Fonteyn became close lifelong friends and were famously loyal to each other.
During the late 1930s and early 1940s Fonteyn had a long relationship with composer Constant Lambert. In 1955, at age 36, she married in Paris a man she had met in her youth: Robert E. Arias, “Tito,” the son of the former president of Panama who became the Panamanian ambassador in London. In 1959, whilst Margot continued her successful career, Arias planned an armed invasion to Panama City. Fonteyn was arrested for helping Arias to attempt a coup d’etat against the government. Confidential British government files released in 2010 showed that Fonteyn knew of and had some involvement in the coup attempt. In 1964 a rival Panamanian politician shot Arias, leaving him a quadriplegic for the rest of his life.
In 1979, Fonteyn made her last stage appearance and received, from the Royal Ballet in England, the title “prima ballerina assoluta,” a title only given to three ballerinas in the 20th century. After her retirement Fonteyn spent all her time in Panama, and was close to her husband and his children from an earlier marriage. She had no pension, and had spent all her savings looking after her husband. Shortly before her husband’s death, in 1989, Fonteyn was diagnosed with a cancer that proved fatal. She died on 21 February 1991 in a hospital in Panama City, Panama, aged 71.
Emil Otto Hoppé (1878–1972) was a German-born British portrait, travel, and topographic photographer active between 1907 and 1945. Hoppé was one of the most important photographic artists of his era and highly celebrated in his time. He was the undisputed leader of pictorial portraiture in Europe. In the 1930s Hoppé photographed a number of dancers at the Vic-Wells company including Margot Fonteyn, Ninette de Valois, Hermione Darnborough and Beatrice Appleyard.
Sources / More to Read:
Wikipedia: Margot Fonteyn
Daily Mail: Fonteyn in Panama coup attempt
Wikipedia: E.O. Hoppé

Out of Work, New York, 1921

Emil Otto Hoppé – Part One
Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Out of Work, New York, USA, 1921 ((E.O. Hoppé Estate Collection))

Out of Work, New York, USA, 1921 (E.O. Hoppé Estate Collection)

Emil Otto Hoppé (1878–1972) was a German-born British portrait, travel, and topographic photographer active between 1907 and 1945. Born to a wealthy family in Munich, he moved to London in 1900 to train as a financier. While working for the Deutsche Bank, he became increasingly enamored with photography and, in 1907, jettisoned his commercial career and opened a portrait studio.
Within a few years, E.O. Hoppé was the undisputed leader of pictorial portraiture in Europe. Rarely in the history of the medium has a photographer been so famous in his own lifetime among the general public. His reputation attracted many important British and North American figures in politics, literature, and the arts. In the era before the first World War, Hoppé photographed many leading literary subjects and figures from the art world, such as Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, John Masefield, Léon Bakst, Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina and other dancers of the Ballets Russes, Violet Hunt, Richard Strauss, Jacob Epstein and William Nicholson, some of whom were included in his 1913 exhibition.
In the early 1920s he was invited to photograph Queen Mary, King George, and members of the royal family. Other subjects of the 1920s included Albert Einstein, Benito Mussolini, Robert Frost, Aldous Huxley, George Bernard Shaw and A.A. Milne. In the 1930s Hoppé photographed a number of dancers at the Vic-Wells company including Margot Fonteyn, Ninette de Valois, Hermione Darnborough and Beatrice Appleyard.
Hoppé also made portraits of the street types of London: he photographed English cleaners, maids, and street vendors both in his studio and on the street. He continued this practice of capturing ordinary working men and women throughout his career as he traveled throughout the world.
Although Hoppé was one of the most important photographic artists of his era and highly celebrated in his time, in 1954, at the age of 76, he sold his body of photographic work to a commercial London picture archive, the Mansell Collection. In the collection, the work was filed by subject in with millions of other stock pictures and no longer accessible by author. Almost all of Hoppé’s photographic work—that which gained him the reputation as Britain’s most influential international photographer between 1907 and 1939—was accidentally obscured from photo-historians and from photo-history itself. It remained in the collection for over thirty years after Hoppé’s death, and was not fully accessible to the public until the collection closed down and was acquired by new owners in the United States.
In 1994 photographic art curator Graham Howe retrieved Hoppé’s photographic work from the picture library and rejoined it with the Hoppé family archive of photographs and biographical documents. This was the first time since 1954 that the complete E.O.Hoppé Collection was gathered together. Many years were spent in cataloguing, conservation, and research of the recovered work.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: E.O. Hoppé
E.O. Hoppé state collection
National Portrait Gallery, Hoppé Collection

Anna May Wong, by George Hurrell, 1938

Colorization & Restoration by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization & Restoration by Manos Athanasiadis

Anna May Wong (photo: George Hurell) 1938

Anna May Wong (photo: George Hurell) 1938

Anna May Wong (born Wong Liu Tsong, 1905–1961) was an American actress. She is considered to be the first Chinese American movie star, and also the first Asian American actress to gain international recognition. Her long and varied career spanned silent film, sound film, television, stage and radio.
Born in Los Angeles to second-generation Chinese-American parents, Wong became infatuated with the movies and began acting in films at an early age. During the silent film era, she acted in The Toll of the Sea (1922), one of the first movies made in color. Her big breakthrough came when Douglas Fairbanks cast her in a supporting role as a treacherous Mongol slave in The Thief of Bagdad (1924). The $2-million blockbuster production made her known to critics and the movie-going public. For better or worse, a star, albeit of the stereotypical “Dragon Lady” type, was born.
Despite her waxing fame, she was limited to supporting roles, as Caucasian actresses, continued to be cast as Asian women in lead roles. She was unable to attract lead parts despite her beauty and proven acting talent, even in films featuring Asian women. The characters she played typically were duplicitous or murderous vamps that often reaped the wages of their sin by being raped. Frustrated by the stereotypical supporting roles she reluctantly played in Hollywood, Wong left for Europe in the late 1920s, where she starred in several notable plays and films. European directors appreciated Wong’s unique talents and beauty, and they used her in ways that stereotype-minded Hollywood, hemmed in by American prejudice, would not or could not. Moving to Germany to appear in German films, she became acquainted with German film personalities, including Marlene Dietrich and Leni Riefenstahl. She learned German and French and began to develop a continental European attitude and outlook. Anna May Wong was featured in magazines all over the world, she became a media superstar, and her coiffure and complexion were copied, while “coolie coats” became the rage. The 170-cm-tall beauty was known as the world’s best-dressed woman and widely considered to have the loveliest hands in the cinema.
She spent the first half of the 1930s traveling between the United States and Europe for film and stage work. Her best role in Hollywood in the early 1930s was in support of Marlene Dietrich in Oscar-winning classic Shanghai Express (1932). However, Hollywood in the 1930s was as racist as it had been in the Roaring Twenties, and MGM refused to cast her in its 1932 production of The Son-Daughter (1932), for which she did a screen-test, as she was “too Chinese to play a Chinese.”
In 1935 Wong was dealt the most severe disappointment of her career, when MGM refused to consider her for the leading role of the Chinese character O-Lan in the film The Good Earth, choosing instead the German actress Luise Rainer to play the leading role. Albert Lewin, the Thalberg assistant who was casting the film, vetoed Wong and other ethnic Chinese because their looks didn’t fit his conception of what Chinese people should look like. Ironically, the year “The Good Earth” came out, Wong appeared on the cover of Look Magazine’s second issue, which labeled her “The World’s Most Beautiful Chinese Girl.” Luise Rainer would win the Best Actress Oscar for her performance of O-Lan in Chinese drag.
Wong spent the next year touring China, visiting her family’s ancestral village and studying Chinese culture. Though Wong was one of Hollywood’s more memorable victims of racism in being denied leading roles in A-list pictures because the racist mores of the times prevented an Asian woman from kissing a Caucasian actor, she was considered socially suspect by her own people. The roles she was forced to accept in order to have an acting career, as well as her status as a single woman disgusted many Chinese in America and in her ancestral homeland, where actresses were equated with prostitutes and where women were still played by men in classical opera. On her trip, Anna May was welcomed by the country’s cultural elite in cosmopolitan Beijing and Shanghai, but she had to abandon a trip to her parents’ ancestral village when her progress was blocked by a crowd of protesters.
Wong’s personal relationships typically were with older Caucasian men, but California law forbade marriage between Asians and Caucasians until 1948. One of her white lovers offered to marry her in Mexico, but the couple’s intentions became known and he backed off when his Hollywood career was jeopardized. Wong mused about marrying a Chinese man at times, but the Chinese culture held actresses to be on a par with prostitutes, which made her suspect marriage material. She was afraid that the mores of her culture likely meant that marrying a Chinese would force her to quit her career and be an obedient wife.
Anna May Wong loved reading, and her favorite subjects spanned a wide range, everything from Asian history and Tzu Lao to William Shakespeare. She never married but occupied her time with golf, horses, and skiing. Wong smoked, drank too much, and suffered from depression.
In the late 1930s, she starred in several B movies for Paramount Pictures, portraying Chinese Americans in a positive light. She paid less attention to her film career during World War II, when she devoted her time and money to helping the Chinese cause against Japan. Wong returned to the public eye in the 1950s in several television appearances. In 1951, she made history with her TV show The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, the first ever U.S. television show starring an Asian American series lead.
She had been planning to return to film in Flower Drum Song when she died of a massive heart attack on February 3, 1961, in Santa Monica, CA, after a long struggle against Laennec’s cirrhosis, a disease of the liver. She was 56 years old.
For decades after her death, Wong was remembered principally for the stereotypical “Dragon Lady” and demure “Butterfly” roles that she was often given. Her life and career were re-evaluated in the years around the centennial of her birth, in three major literary works and film retrospectives.
George Edward Hurrell (1904–1992) was a photographer who contributed to the image of glamour presented by Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hurrell originally studied as a painter with no particular interest in photography. He first began to use photography only as a medium for recording his paintings. After moving to Laguna Beach, California from Chicago, Illinois in 1925 he met many other painters who had connections. One of those connections was Edward Steichen who encouraged him to pursue photography after seeing some of his works. Hurrell eventually opened a photographic studio in Los Angeles.
In the late 1920s, Hurrell was introduced to the actor Ramon Novarro and agreed to take a series of photographs of him. Novarro was impressed with the results and showed them to the actress Norma Shearer, who was attempting to mould her wholesome image into something more glamorous and sophisticated in an attempt to land the title role in the movie The Divorcee. She asked Hurrell to photograph her in poses more provocative than her fans had seen before. After she showed these photographs to her husband, MGM production chief Irving Thalberg, Thalberg was so impressed that he signed Hurrell to a contract with MGM Studios, making him head of the portrait photography department. But in 1932, Hurrell left MGM after differences with their publicity head, and from then on until 1938 ran his own studio. Throughout the decade, Hurrell photographed every star contracted to MGM, and his striking black-and-white images were used extensively in the marketing of these stars.
In the early 1940s Hurrell moved to Warner Brothers Studios and later in the decade, he moved to Columbia Pictures where his photographs were used to help the studio build the career of Rita Hayworth.
He left Hollywood briefly to make training films for the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces. When he returned to Hollywood in the mid-1950s his old style of glamour had fallen from favour. Where he had worked hard to create an idealised image of his subjects, the new style of Hollywood glamour was more earthy and gritty, and for the first time in his career Hurrell’s style was not in demand. He moved to New York and worked for the advertising industry where glamour was still valued. He continued his work for fashion magazines and photographed for print advertisements for several years before returning to Hollywood in the 1960s.
Hurrell died from complications from bladder cancer shortly after completing a TBS documentary about his life. He died on May 17, 1992.
Since his death, his vintage works have continued to appreciate in value and examples of his artistic output can be found in the permanent collections of numerous museums around the world.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: Anna May Wong
Wikipedia: George Hurrell
George Hurrell Official Site
Scandalous Women: Anna May Wong
IMDb: Anna May Wong
BuzzFeed: Anne Helen Petersen’s “Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American Cinema” (bonus chapter)

Female Workers of the Chocolate Factory Cima-Norma, Switzerland, 1904-1932

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Operaie della fabbrica di cioccolato Cima Norma 1904-1932 (Fondazione Archivio Fotografico Roberto Donetta, Corzoneso)

Operaie della fabbrica di cioccolato Cima Norma 1904-1932 (Fondazione Archivio Fotografico Roberto Donetta, Corzoneso)

Roberto Donetta (1865-1932) is one of Swiss photography’s great outsiders.
He was born in the Blenio Valley in Ticino, one of the poorest regions in Switzerland; an Italian-speaking territory to the south of the Alps. Donetta had married young at the age of 21, and had seven children to feed and provide for. He was forced to emigrate, like most of his countrymen. He went to Northern Italy to sell chestnuts on the streets and later to London to work as a waiter, returning just 15 months later, sick and exhausted. Somewhere along the way, he met a sculptor, Dionigi Sorgesa, who in addition to teaching him the basics, gave him a camera. Making a living as a travelling photographer and seed salesman, Donneta eventually found his way back to Switzerland, settling in the Casserio of Corzoneso.
Between 1900 and 1930, he took more than 5.000 photographs, which were preserved merely by chance. These capture the archaic life of his compatriots in the Valle di Blenio, which at the time was totally isolated.
The Blenio Valley is a mountain valley, quite mild at the bottom and on the western slopes, but alpine and barren up on the heights. Just two entities still testify today to a more modern industrialised world: the hotel Terme di Acquarossa, a sophisticated place for urbanites on summer vacation in Donetta’s day; and the striking Cima Norma chocolate factory.
In 1903 Cima brothers established the chocolate factory “Cima” between Torre and Dangio villages. Torre village has been familiar with the production of chocolate since 19th century, when the population worked as chocolate manufacturers abroad. In 1913, Giuseppe Pagani became Cima’s owner, and in 1914 bought “Norma” chocolate factory in Zurich. Cima Norma factory constantly increased its growth until the 60s, when it produced 500 tons of chocolate and employed 340 people. But, in the following years, competition became stronger and finally the factory closed in 1968. Machinery and raw materials were sold, while the buildings became a military warehouse; they were later made available to organise arts and crafts workshops and to build lofts. Cima Norma deeply influenced the life of workers and citizens of Blenio Valley; for instance, it provided male workers with houses and female workers with a hostel, where nuns taught them housekeeping and manners. Donetta photographed both the Cima Norma factory and the hotel Terme di Acquarossa frequently as they were fixed points in social life in the valley.

“The details of the photographs are fascinating. The placement of the figures in Female Workers in Front of the Chocolate Factory Cima Norma for example, where the left two sitting figures have their legs crossed in the opposite direction while both rest their face in their hands, a central figure, and then two figures interlocked as in an infinity symbol looking at each other. The ‘line’ of the photograph changes from one height to another. We observe that Donetta stages his photographs with infinite care, even when there is a blank wall behind the sitter.” 
Dr Marcus Bunyan – Artblart

Roberto Donetta, Self-portrait –Bleniotal, © Fondazione Archivio Fotografico Roberto Donetta

Roberto Donetta, Self-portrait –Bleniotal, © Fondazione Archivio Fotografico Roberto Donetta

Donetta’s personality was full of contradictions. On the one hand, he expressed considerable interest in all the phenomena associated with the advent of modern achievements, such as photography. On the other hand, he was decidedly conservative when it came to the cohesion of the family or his close links with nature. The latter prevented him from leaving the valley to look for more secure work in town. He lamented the constant changes associated with road building and new railway lines, which he did not see as a blessing for the valley. In his capacity as a photographer he succumbed to the fascination of the modern, yet at the same time he expressed a deep respect for long-standing traditions and rituals. Festivals, weddings, funerals, processions, outdoor church services, these were inconceivable without “il fotografo”. Donetta made photography an important part of those rituals, and over the course of time the photographer was as much a part of the valley as the parson was of the church. This is surely the source of the quality of his photographs: the people did not dissimulate, indeed it’s almost as if they forgot that someone with a camera was watching, so self engrossed do they look, serious, at one with themselves.
Children have a special place in the work of Roberto Donetta – not only because he photographed them regularly and readily, but also because of the originality of the respective images. He took the young people seriously, and they in turn were his accomplices, becoming involved in his creative ideas. The presence of children in his work can also be explained from a socio-historical viewpoint: children played an important role in everyday life and contributed to their family’s economic survival. Sometimes even the worries of the older people are reflected on their little faces. The high infant mortality in the Blenio Valley at the beginning of the 20th century also left its mark. The repeated experience of losing a child increased the need for portraits. Roberto Donetta fulfilled the wish of many parents to try and hold on to their offspring, at least in an image. What is particularly moving is when they called on the photographer to immortalize a small child on his or her death bed.
In an era of great change, Donetta became a unique chronicler who at the same time saw himself as an artist who – self-taught – experimented freely and knew how to master his medium.
When he died, Donetta owed money to many of the town’s locals who had help support him throughout his economic hardships. His wife and family had abandoned him and moved to France years ago, but he was obviously well-liked within his community. When the Commune of Corzoneso held an auction of his belongings to retrieve some of the expenses that helped keep him afloat in his last years, his remarkable collection of photography was ironically the only thing they couldn’t sell for any value. By default, the Commune of Corzonesco became the owners of the Donetta archives, which were re-discovered in the mid-1980s by Mariarosa Bozzini. The Roberto Donetta Archives are housed in the Casa Comunale of Corzoneso, which is responsible for the supervision and conservation of his work.
Sources/More to Read:
Messy Nessy: Memories of a Lost Valley: 5,000 Photographs Discovered in an Attic
Wikipedia: Roberto Donetta (in German)
Fotostiftung Schweiz: Roberto Donetta – Photographer and Seed Salesman
Fondazione Archivio Fotografico Roberto Donetta (in Italian)
Artblart: Roberto Donetta at Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur, Zurich
La Fabbrica Del Cioccolato: Our Story
Ticino Top Ten:  Historic Trail Blenio Valley