One of the great portrait projects, an attempt at creating a photographic portrait of the German people, developed in the 1920s and 1930s.
He set about his task as systematically as a taxidermist, gathering specimen after specimen, from country Jew to storm trooper, from brick layer to fat industrialist, from moon-faced pastry cooks to bloodless dilettantes, all the players of the roles that defined German society. Piece by piece Sander collected the elements for his composite portrait. The Nazi regime found his concept of the German people too inclusive and it became impossible to continue the work.
These prints were purchased from Sander’s son in the late 1970s.
All images © estate of August Sander / Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne, Germany