The tightly-cropped portrait is the earliest photograph included in the portfolio entitled ‘The Judge and the Attorney’ within the group ‘Classes and Professions’ from August Sander’s ambitious project ‘People of the 20th Century’. Taken in 1919, it predates Sander’s decision to compile a typology of the German people, categorised by their estates, professions and living environments in the 1920s. It is one of many images documenting the Westerwald region, where Sander travelled throughout his life. The figure pictured here also appears with his family in the group ‘The Farmer’, exemplifying the relationships that Sander fostered with many of his subjects. The detail of the lines on the arbitrator’s skin add to the sense of wisdom and humanity that emanates fittingly from his friendly, smiling face.