Past

ARTIST ROOMS: August Sander

  • 12th February − 10th July 2011 | Modern Two (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art) | Admission free

Portraiture

Rather than photographing his subjects in their usual environment, Sander chose a neutral background and fairly strong lighting. His sitters face us square on without any particular expression. The consistent format across the photographs allows us to compare and contrast the sitters and to see if any typical characteristics, and indeed differences, emerge. However, Sander also ensures that no subject is reduced to an anthropological specimen; instead he emphasises that these are individuals as well as simply representatives of social classes, trades and professions.

Sander’s style of portrait photography and his typological approach to classifying his subjects have had an enormous influence on modern photography. The work of Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman, Rineke Dijkstra and Bernd and Hilla Becher follows his example.