August Sander

Police Officer and Master of the Watch, 1925 (1925)

About this artwork

This photograph is classified in the portfolio entitled ‘The Official’ within the group ‘Classes and Professions’ in August Sander’s photographic project ‘People of the 20th Century’. To make him appear more impressive, Sander photographed the police officer from below so that he seems to loom above the viewer. In full uniform and carrying his baton, the officer has a long grey moustache that conceals much of his face. His shoulders relaxed, he gazes squarely at the viewer, secure in the knowledge that he commands respect. Sander has posed the officer in front of a white screen in a studio, permitting him to harness the potential of strong natural light to pick out a range of textural detail, including the weave of his coat and its highly polished buttons. Sander conceived his ambition to record a representative typology of the German people categorised by their estate, profession and environment in the 1920s, continuing to work on the project for the rest of his life.

see media
  • title: Police Officer and Master of the Watch, 1925
  • accession number: AL00061
  • artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1925
  • measurements: 26.10 x 17.80 cm (paper 44.00 x 34.00 cm; mount: 46.00 x 36.00 cm) (framed: 48.20 x 38.20 x 3.20 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010
  • copyright: © Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2016.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

August Sander

August Sander

Considered one of the finest photographers of the twentieth century, Sander's bold style of portrait photography, as well as his typological approach, has had an enormous influence on modern photography. During his apprenticeship in several German studios and his time in his own studio in Austria, he developed his individual style. Then in 1910 Sander moved to Cologne and produced his first large group of photographs, which he later included in his concept "People of the 20th Century". This was created in the mid-1920s and compiled up until the 1950s. He photographed groups of people in his native Germany, classifying them according to their occupations and positions in society.