August Sander: Photography as a weapon against Nazi ideology

August Sander (1876-1964), a prominent figure in documentary photography, played a pivotal role in challenging and resisting Nazi ideology through his work during the difficult years preceding and following Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany.

Sander’s most famous project, “People of the 20th Century,” stands as a testament to this silent resistance. This monumental body of work, portraying a broad cross-section of German society, presented a bold challenge to the Nazi notion of a “superior race.”

Sander’s strategy was to humanize all the people he photographed, regardless of their social status or race. His approach was neither to glorify nor denigrate, but simply to portray people as they were, a vision that was in stark contrast with the Nazis’ racial ideology.


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