The German photographer August Sander (1876-1964) specialized in portraits and documentaries. Sander first learned about photography while assisting a mining company photographer. He purchased photographic equipment and set up his darkroom with the help of his uncle. He spent his military service as a photographer’s assistant and the following years wandering around Germany. In 1901, Sander worked for a photo studio in Linz but left at the end of 1909 to open a studio in Cologne.
Early in the 1920s, he became acquainted with the Cologne Progressives, a radical group of artists connected to the workers’ movement. The photographic plates of his book “Face of our Time” were seized in 1936 and subsequently destroyed. It contained 60 portraits from the series People of the 20th Century and was published in 1929.
Sander’s work includes landscape, nature, architecture, and street photography, but his best-known works are his portraits, as exemplified by his series “People of the 20th Century.”. The series presents a cross-section of society during the Weimar Republic. There are seven sections in this series: The Farmer, The Skilled Tradesman, The Woman, Classes and Professions, The Artists, The City, and The Last People.