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Historical Portraits of German People from the Early 1900s by August Sander

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.

#1 Three generations of the family

Three generations of the family

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#2 Farm children

Farm children

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#3 Cretin

Cretin

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#4 Police officer

Police officer

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#5 Middle class children

Middle class children

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#6 Young mother

Young mother

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#7 Circus worker

Circus worker

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#8 Zirkusartisten Circus artists

Zirkusartisten Circus artists

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#9 Girl in fairground caravan

Girl in fairground caravan

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#10 Pastry cook

Pastry cook

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#11 Workmen in the Ruhr region

Workmen in the Ruhr region

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#12 Café waitress

Café waitress

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#13 The Dadaist Raoul Hausmann with Hedwig Mankiewitz and Vera Broïdo

The Dadaist Raoul Hausmann with Hedwig Mankiewitz and Vera Broïdo

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#14 Compère

Compère

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#15 Peddler

Peddler

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#16 Blind children at their lessons

Blind children at their lessons

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#17 Gasmen

Gasmen

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#18 “Test Your Strength” showman

“Test Your Strength” showman

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#19 Soldier

Soldier

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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