Gunther Sander, German, 1907 - 1987
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[Coal Carrier, Berlin (Berliner Kohlenträger)]
August Sander (German, 1876 - 1964)
Berlin, Germany (Place created)
Gelatin silver print
24.1 x 15.2 cm (9 1/2 x 6 in.)
© J. Paul Getty Trust
August Sander, whose systematic documentation of the German people included manual laborers, captured this unshaven coal carrier stepping out of a building with his burden slung over his shoulder. According to Sander's hierarchical theory, the laborer's place was on the lower rungs of society. By photographing his subject emerging from a dark basement, Sander underscored his theory quite literally.
In this image, the doorway framing the laborer sets a boundary between the bright light of day and the shadowy depths behind him. The man's bent leg, which seems to propel him forward, lends dynamism to a composition that might otherwise have been static.
August Sander: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (September 22 to October 30, 1988)
- Stiftung Bahnhof Rolandseck, September 22 to October 30, 1988
August Sander: Faces of the German People (May 21 to November 3, 1991)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), May 21 to July 28, 1991
- J.B. Speed Art Museum, (Louisville), September 17 to November 3, 1991
August Sander: German Portraits, 1918-1933 (March 6 to June 24, 2001)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 6 to June 24, 2001
August Sander's People of the 20th Century (November 16, 2007 to September 14, 2008)
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, (Sydney), November 16, 2007 to February 3, 2008
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 6 to September 14, 2008