It’s always difficult to show photography in modern ‘white cube’ art galleries, but Hawser & Wirth have shown how to do it with works from one of the masters of 20th century German photography (if not the actual master) by using over-size images from August Sander.
Sander is a hero of his age, photographing everyday life including a series of ‘People of the 20th Century’ which, yes did include an architect. There is no photo-shopping here; people are shown in classic black and white photographs as they were, complete with wrinkles, face-lines and other imperfect reflections of their lives. He even tiptoed into areas that no-one dared tread with photographs of gay men which, in his era, was almost unthinkable. No wonder the Nazi regime didn’t like his work and suppressed it – they only wanted to see artificial beauty, not the real world.
In some ways he was following in the footsteps of photographers such as Thomas Annan with his photographs of life in 19th century Glasgow, showing not only new new buildings being constructed in the transformation of the city, but the poverty and life in the slums.