August Sander: A Visionary Photographer Chronicling German Society in the 20th Century

August Sander was one of the most influential photographers of the first half of the 20th century. His work focused on portraiture and photographic documentation of German society during the time, from rural workers to artists and the upper class.

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August Sander (1876-1964) was one of the most influential photographers of the first half of the 20th century. His work focused on portraiture and photographic documentation of German society during the time, from rural workers to artists and the upper class.

With his work, Sander created a visual chronicle of life in Germany during a tumultuous period in history. Born in Herdorf, Germany, Sander grew up in a family of farmers and learned to work the land from a young age. However, his love for photography led him to move to Cologne in 1909 to pursue his art. There, he opened his own studio and began working on his most ambitious project: “People of the 20th Century.”

August Sander

“People of the 20th Century” was a series of portraits that Sander began making in 1910 and continued to work on until his death in 1964. The series consists of over 600 photographs that are divided into seven thematic groups: farmers, workers, women, artists, citizens, professions, and the final category, “the last men,” which includes photographs of the elderly and infirm.

In his work, Sander focused on the realistic representation of German society, without idealizing or exaggerating its features. His goal was to capture the essence of each person he photographed, including their physical features and social position. To achieve this, he often photographed his subjects in a simple studio setting, without adornments or decoration.

Although the “People of the 20th Century” series is his best-known work, Sander also excelled in documentary photography, including images of German architecture and urban landscapes. In this work, Sander shows a critical view of the changes that were happening in German society during his lifetime, including industrialization, urbanization, and political movements.

Sander’s work was influenced by the artistic movement of New Objectivity, which emerged in the 1920s in Germany and sought the realistic representation of contemporary society and culture. Along with other photographers of the time, such as Karl Blossfeldt and Albert Renger-Patzsch, Sander contributed to the creation of a modern and avant-garde visual aesthetic that would influence contemporary photography and art.

Unfortunately, Sander’s work was criticized and persecuted during the Nazi era, which saw his work as “degenerate” and “inappropriate.” Many of his photographs were confiscated and Sander was forced to halt the publication of his work. Although he managed to survive the war and persecution, his work was damaged by the censorship and criticism of the Nazi regime.

Despite these obstacles, Sander’s work has been valued and studied around the world. In 1972, a posthumous edition of his “People of the 20th Century” work was published, bringing together a vast selection of his portraits and documenting German society during an era of profound change.

Today, August Sander’s legacy endures as a testament to his remarkable vision and skill as a photographer. His portraits and documentary photographs offer a compelling glimpse into the life and culture of a pivotal moment in German history, while his influence on contemporary photography continues to be felt to this day.

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Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted. This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation.
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
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