An unobtrusive portrait photographer who knew what he wanted from his subjects at the onset of his career, August Sander is the photographer of the soul and the chronicler of an age.
A meticulous workman and driven artist, he photographed the defeated citizenry of Germany in 1918, who needed photo identification cards for the occupying forces. By 1929 he had photographed all classes and types of the German people. Sander came under the influence of modern art and its vocal intellectual practitioners, whom he befriended in Cologne. It was through his discussions with them that he came to understand the importance of his portrait work and was encouraged to continue. He produced the first volume of an extended series he hoped would provide an exhaustive catalog, but by the 1930s his work fell into disfavor by the Nazis and was banned.
The photography of August Sander, resounding with clarity and expressiveness, comprises an extraordinary human document. This volume of the Masters of Photography series includes forty-three of his portraits that reveal a vast cross section of German society, from pastry chefs to industrialists, and provide a provocative glance at the Weimar Republic.