Author(s): Gerd Sander
With People of the 20th Century, August Sander created a monumental work that is unique in the history of photography and a classic of photographic literature. Sander conceived this large-scale project, which he ultimately never completed, in the 1920s. He was to spend the rest of his life working on it, his objective nothing less than a complete typological portrait of contemporary society. Hundreds of portraits classified according to professional, social or family criteria were to provide a representative picture of the various social groups. He envisaged seven groups labeled: "The Farmer," "The Skilled Tradesman," "The Woman," "Classes and Professions," "The Artists," "The City" and--on the theme of age, illness and death--"The Last People." We have now condensed out 2002 seven-volume edition of the artist's complete oeuvre into one large volume presenting "the essential" People of the 20th Century.