August Sander and people of his century

August Sander is one of giants of photography. Don’t look for his name though, under dramatic photos of war, important events, fashion, portraits of famous people or travel. He has invented a particular type of documentary photography, in which he strived to show the “truth” about people of his time.

Mariella - my smart hairdresser
Mariella – my smart hairdresser

The idea was to show human “archetypes”, in order to convey for posterity how people from a given social group or profession looked like. I don’t think Sander succeeded in that, but he did something more important – showed us real flesh and blood individuals, each uniquely different, yet forming a mosaic that would eventually produce a remarkable picture  of that historic period, and demonstrate how a mindful photographic project could enrich our culture.

I would definitely like to shoot more portraits, and always do that whenever I get an opportunity. Frequently, people avoid a chance of getting their photo taken, for fear of not appearing at their best. Experience is telling me, it’s always better to insist on making photographs, and then if a more appropriate chance comes up,  make some more. You can always eliminate the less fortunate frames, but you cannot rewind time.

High heeled assault squad
High heeled assault squad on Boulevard d’Italie, Monaco.

I took the above shot on my way to the hairdresser. It would have been nicer from the front, but perhaps these young ladies could have objected to having their faces put on a blog. They represent a part of Monaco’s scenery, that I’d call “Young girls on a mission”. Certainly, they also make part of the caleidoscope of “people of this century”. I must say, I admire them greatly for the ability to walk in these stratospheric high heel shoes.

“My Little Suede Shoes” – Charlie Parker