Thursday, April 19, 2012

Photographers that inspire: August Sander

August Sander was a German portrait photographer in the early 20th century. His photos have always attracted me because of the stark and direct nature of his subjects beautiful and yet slightly uneasy viewing.
He seems to have a directness of connection with the subject which although gives intimacy at the same time, the sitter almost always has a steely reserved distance.
His photographs are a 'slice' of German society before the war, including country peasants, musicians, writers and aristocrats. Here are some of my personal favourites:

Police Officer

Country Girls

Circus Performer


Turkish mousetrap salesman
He published a book in 1929 called 'Face of  Our Time' (links to Amazon) which forms the basis of his an exhibition of his work 'People of the 20th Century' The book was not well recived by the Nazi's who destroyed some of the plates and negatives. Sanders images were probably too 'transparent' in the kind of society they showed, not exactly the modern image of Germany the Nazi's wanted.
August Sander's style has influenced many of his later 20th Century contempoaries such as Lissette Model and Diane Arbus the latter especially.
The Book Face of our time is a must for any portrait photographers bookshelf.

©Photo Utopia 2012


Gilles Geeraerts said...

I'm so glad that you are posting on this blog again. Thanks for keeping it alive !

Photo–Smith said...

I'm trying, thanks for your support-it means a lot!

Noons said...

Ditto. Welcome back. Always good to swing by and read something really relevant to photography. Instead of more "reviews" of the latest, whitest and most expensive...

Photo–Smith said...

Thanks noons I'm going to try to post more in future, I have a couple of articles I've sat on for almost a year...

Anonymous said...

August Sander was a great photographer!

Mike said...

Nice blog which I found from the recent Filmwasters thread. I look forward to following it. I'm going to take a particularly close look at your color processing instructions as that is something I have been threatening to try forever.

Photo–Smith said...

Hi Mike,
Thanks for visiting, take the plunge with colour. There is nothing to fear the Tetenal kit will give you 12-15 films so it works out quite cheap.



It's Bruce Robbins from Photography Matters here. I started another website last year to do my bit to promote film-based photography and darkroom work. I've now had the idea to start a film-based photography webring called We Shoot Film to build up a critical mass of information. I'm writing to see if you would be interested in joining it. It would involve placing a little bit of javascript on your home page. This would show up as buttons saying "previous", "next" and "random" so that readers could flick between the websites. I'll design a simple logo to place above the buttons. We're all stronger together and maybe we can be more than the sum of our parts.

Look forward to hearing from you!


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