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August Sander, 1876-1964 (English, French and German Edition) Hardcover – April 1, 1999
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Photographer August Sander's great gift to the world is his collection of portraits documenting German society in the early decades of the 20th century. His sitters are anonymous, described simply by their occupation, with the stories of their lives, hard or soft, written on their faces. Drawn from all ranks of society, they look at us with a directness and honesty that reflect those of the man behind the camera. There is little artifice in their settings; Sander captures the essence of his subject's character through a neutral but sympathetic simplicity of vision. Calling his portfolio People of the Twentieth Century, Sander builds a picture of the Germany of his day that is at the same time both an artistic and sociological study. The calmness and humanity of his photographs contrast starkly with the violence of his times; though his work is pointedly apolitical, portrait titles such as Victim of Persecution, Cologne, 1938 suggest the hysteria that was overtaking contemporary Europe. Printed in Italy, this study presents a trilingual essay and 168 high-quality reproductions of Sander's work. Complementing the portraits are powerful landscape compositions of idyllic countryside and bombed-out ruins. The book is a fine introduction to the work of a pioneer who refined portraiture to its essence, changing the way photography was regarded in Germany and the world. --John Stevenson
From Library Journal
Blossfeldt, Sander, and Weston all blossomed with the publication of their first books around 1930, were direct in their use of the medium, and rank among photography's defining masters. Yet they each had a unique style and focused on distinct subject matter, making their works instantly recognizable. These three books, part of a new photography series from Taschen, are sufficiently monumental to honor the artists' talents but still convey their singular talents. Germans Sander and Blossfeldt pioneered the "new objectivity" with their massive survey projects. Sander set out to document all of society in hundreds of portraits, typically titled "Country Farmer Dressed for a Funeral" or "Middle-Class Family." The influence of his style, stern yet eminently humane, is more present than ever in current photography. A prominent collector and photography writer, Heiting has made excellent work of a difficult task selecting more than 100 of these portraits for inclusion and augmenting them with lesser-known architectural and landscape photographs. Blossfeldt originally photographed plant specimens to help his students in art school with copying natural forms. But with the publication of Art Forms in Nature (1928), containing 60 of these photogravures, he was hailed as master and went on to publish two more acclaimed compendia. Adam, a photography writer, offers stunning reproductions of all the prints found in all three of Blossfeldt's volumes as well as the original essays from the time. The Weston volume will give readers a new appreciation of his almost abstract nature studies and nudes. Heiting has again chosen exemplary works from Weston's more diverse oeuvre, combining well-known signature pieces with unexpected images. Terrence Pitts, director of the Center for Creative Photography, has added an especially well-researched essay to accompany the selections. These books are all well done, but based on the popularity of their work in the United States, Weston belongs in all public libraries, Sander in medium and large public libraries, and Blossfeldt in all libraries with a serious interest in photography; the entire series would be at home in any academic institution.ADoug McClemont, New York
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.