In the photo-books that August Sander compiled alongside his monumental documentary project ‘People of the 20th Century’, he aimed visually to identify and define the social structures of his time. The project’s more than 500 photographs are arranged into distinct series that were intended to reveal the typical traits of certain social classes and ‘types’. This photograph is from a series of hand studies that Sander compiled in 1944 from enlargements of details taken from portraits he had made earlier in the century. It is an enlargement from a picture taken around 1919 of farming people in the rural Westerwald near Cologne, isolating the hands of a grandmother and her grandchild. While the weather-beaten woman’s hand signals the physical strain of years of agricultural labour that is entirely absent from the soft flesh of the child, the photograph also draws attention to the continuing inter-generational solidarity in farming families, a social phenomenon that was beginning to disappear from modern society.