Michael Piper Photographer

AUGUST SANDER 1876-1964

I have been in love with typologies for some time now, this love has led me to look increasingly at the work of August Sander.  Sander was heralded by many such as Bernice Abbott and his work cumulated in the book People of the 20th century.

The following image of one of Sanders most famous portraits from 1928, the brick layer/hob carrier. Sander’s manages to get the sitter to adopt a casual relaxed pose a confident gaze. He focuses his eyes into the camera as if his life depended on this.  Straight backed unworried by this large load on his shoulders, one could even suggest this is like a beast of burden, but he also has a pride in his appearance, his confidence radiates from not only his eyes but also from the lines created by his pose.  His right hand casually rest on his waist, in turn creating a perfect right angle and with his left hand lightly grasping the load while yet again creating a second right angle. All this was done during a short break during the sitter’s working day. The sitter dominates the picture and clearly represents his profession. Sander’s makes beautiful use of light and shade whilst highlighting the sitter’s striking face, while the shade isolates his body with a perfect diagonal line of light. Sanders made sure he cropped the image to make sure that most of the sitters body is in shot.  This is what Sanders set out to do in most of his work - the presentation of representatives of classes and professions.

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