Preoccupying him from the mid-1920s until the end of his life, August Sander’s ambitious project ‘People of the 20th Century’ aimed to chronicle the social structures and developments in his native Germany. He adopted a methodological approach, classifying over 500 photographs into seven groups: ‘The Farmer’, ‘The Skilled Tradesman’, ‘The Woman’, ‘Classes and Professions’, ‘The Artists’, ‘The City’ and ‘The Last People’. This picture is from the portfolio entitled ‘City Youth’, which includes twelve photographs of children and young people, within the sixth group, ‘The City’. It shows a group of children lined up on the Cologne Street, Schemmergasse. The toys many of them hold suggest that this is their playground – a typical leisure environment for urban working-class children. The cobbled street has a dismal atmosphere, with rows of wire above long stretches of blank brick wall, muddy puddles in the foreground and not a single tree or patch of grass in sight.