Porter, 1929 (1929)
About this artwork
August Sander worked on his monumental project ‘People of the 20th Century’ from the mid-1920s until the end of his life. He classified over 500 photographs into seven groups, representing the social structures and developments of his time. In particular he was interested in documenting employment divisions and professional classes. This portrait is from the portfolio entitled ‘Servants’ within the sixth group, ‘The City’. The majority of photographs Sander took of representatives of service occupations have a narrow vertical format, showing their subjects in full or three-quarter view, usually wearing their working clothes. Here the sitter holds a railway porter’s cap in his work-swollen hands, which are emphasised by their position in the foreground of the image. The man’s heavy eyelids, sagging shoulders and soiled jacket together evoke a life of tough physical labour and little money or leisure time.
- title: Porter, 1929
- accession number: AL00104
- artist: August SanderGerman (1874 - 1964)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Photograph
- materials: Black and white photograph on paper
- date created: 1929
- measurements: 25.80 x 19.70 cm (paper 43.90 x 33.90 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: © Photograph. Samml. / SK Stiftung Kultur - A. Sander Archiv, Köln /VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2016.
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.