August Sander was born in 1876 in Herdorf, Germany. While working as a waste dump labourer he met a photographer working for the same mining company and became his assistant. He soon bought his own photographic equipment. Starting in 1897 he received more thorough photographic training in Trier. After apprenticing around Germany, in 1902 he took over an atelier in Linz, and then moved with his family to Cologne to work as a studio photographer. In 1925 he began putting together the classic portraits in his project People of the Twentieth Century: in its seven chapters, among them The Skilled Tradesman, The Woman and The City, roughly 600 people of all social classes are pictured. It is a veritable atlas of physiognomies and social distinctions. In 1934 the National Socialists destroyed the book’s printing blocks. Sander and his wife left Cologne during the war, and his atelier was destroyed in bombing attacks, but Sander was able to save important portions of his archive in his new home in Kuchhausen. In 1960 Sander was awarded the Federal Republic’s Order of Merit. He died in Cologne in 1964.