August Sander: Photographs of an Epoch is an exhibition presented by the Philadelphia Museum of Art from March I to April 27, 1980, to travel to major institutions throughout the United States. August Sander: Photographs of an Epoch, an Aperture monograph, is published as a catalogue for the exhibition, as a book for general distribution, and as a special issue of the periodical.
In the summer of 1934, the Reich Chamber of Visual Arts ordered that the publisher’s printing blocks for a remarkable, slim volume of photographs entitled Antlitz der Zeit (Face of Our Time) be destroyed and all available copies of the book be seized.
August Sander was one of the leading photographers in Germany during the first half of the Twentieth Century. Trained as a professional portraitist, he developed a personal style characterized by startlingly direct photographs of German people of all classes and all callings, to produce a body of work unparalleled in the history of photography.
More than anything else, physiognomy means an understanding of human nature... . We know that people are formed by light and air, their inherited traits, and their actions, and we recognize people and distinguish one from another by their appearance.
My first encounter with landscape was in Herdorf, in the Siegerland—in the valley of the Sottersbach, to be precise. I was born and passed my youth there, and my parents’ house stands there to this day. The valley is narrow and lovely, enclosed by richly wooded mountains, and the brook meanders in many twists and turns.
Man puts his own stamp on the landscape with his works, and the landscape, like language, changes in accord with human needs; man often modifies the results of biological evolution. We can see the human spirit of a particular age expressed in the landscape, and we can comprehend it with the camera.
One of my first experiences of the interior of the forest was a strangely colored scene that still lives in my memory like a fairy tale. One beautiful Sunday morning we decided to venture into the forest. The sun, which had awakened us very early, lured us out into the open air, and soon we were striding merrily along.
The little railway twists along between cactus hedges in countless coils up into the high mountains, then winds in ever-greater loops along a towering mountain chain down again to the river. On the way are picturesque little villages nestled against granite cliffs, defiant castles from the time of the Aragonians, who replaced the Pisan rulers in the Fourteenth Century.
1876 August Sander born November 17 at Herdorf on the Sieg River, east of Cologne, third son of nine children of mining carpenter August Sander and Rosette Jung Sander. 1882-1888 Attends elementary school in Herdorf. Father teaches children to draw.
Amman, Jost, and Sachs, Hans. Ständebuch (The Book of Trades). Introduction by Benjamin A. Rifkin. New York: Dover, 1973. August Sander. Preface by John von Hartz. Millerton, N.Y: Aperture, 1977. Barthes, Roland. Image — Music — Text.