August Sander (1876-1964) was one of the 20th century’s greatest photographers. He is best known for his radical fidelity to capturing his models as they really were. Other photographers of his time were primarily concerned with flattering their subjects and photographing them in the most attractive light possible, but August wanted to capture the honest human essence of the person being photographed, in all his or her glorious imperfection. The photographs didn’t strive to make you sigh with admiration, but to wonder about the real people and true life stories hiding beyond the face looking back at you from the printed paper. It made us wonder what would happen if contemporary fashion photographers adopted Sander’s philosophy. In his own words:
If I, August Sander, a man in good physical and emotional health, purport to see things as they are and not as they should or could be, then I hope I will be forgiven, for I cannot do otherwise. I have been a photographer for 30 years and have dedicated myself to my work with all the devotion that I have to give…Nothing is more abhorrent to me than sugary-sweet photography full of pretence, poses, and gimmickry. For this reason, I have allowed myself to tell the truth about our times and people in a sincere manner. – August Sander
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