August Sander worked on his monumental project ‘People of the 20th Century’ from the mid-1920s until the end of his life. He classified over 500 photographs into seven groups, representing the social structures and developments of his time. In particular he was interested in documenting employment divisions and professional classes. This portrait is from the portfolio entitled ‘Servants’ within the sixth group, ‘The City’. The majority of photographs Sander took of representatives of service occupations have a narrow vertical format, showing their subjects in full or three-quarter view, usually wearing their working clothes. Here the sitter holds a railway porter’s cap in his work-swollen hands, which are emphasised by their position in the foreground of the image. The man’s heavy eyelids, sagging shoulders and soiled jacket together evoke a life of tough physical labour and little money or leisure time.