For over fifty years, Sander photographed individuals and groups of people in his native Germany, classifying them according to their occupations and positions in society. This lifelong attempt to document the German people resulted in the ambitious project entitled ‘People of the 20th Century’. This is a photograph of Helene Abelen, wife of the painter and architect, Peter Abelen. It is from Group Three, ‘The Woman’, and in particular the portfolio entitled ‘The Elegant Woman’. She looks almost pixie-like and mischievous with her hair scraped back, ears sticking out and cigarette ready to light in her mouth. Her white outfit creates a strong contrast against the darker background.