August Sander divided his photographic survey ‘The People of the 20th Century’ into seven groups, made up of more than 45 portfolios organised according to the estates, professions and living environments of the German people. While many of the images are studio portraits, the setting of this photograph, included in the portfolio ‘The Technician and the Inventor’, is filled with narrative detail. Instead of relying solely on the title ‘Engineer and Advertising Manager’ as he often did, here Sander surrounded his subject with the tools of his trade. A newspaper, a pamphlet entitled ‘Electrical’, a journal under the blotter and an advertising broadsheet on lithographic printing presses just visible by the telephone testify to the manager’s profession. Grasping the telephone and poised to take notes, he looks into the distance apparently listening attentively, as though thoroughly immersed in his work.