August Sander’s Habitus

  • Claire RaymondEmail author


August Sander’s (German, 1876–1964) project of photographing the German people began before World War II and gains its emotional heft as a record of a nation on the brink of its own self-imposed destruction. The meaning of German-ness can never be the same after World War II and the Holocaust, and August Sander’s photographs of the German people just before World War II reflect this state of approaching abyss. In this chapter, I focus on Sander’s photographs of a group of Germans whom he called “The Last People.” As well, I interpret his photographs of homeless, jobless, itinerant men as illustrative of a photographic uncanny, painting the image of a homeland (heimat) from which Sander is radically estranged (as he did not support the Nazis, and indeed was condemned by them), even though Germany is his country of birth. This homelessness within one’s home Sander depicts eloquently in photographs of “The Last People,” portraits that I will argue become a kind of double-image for Sander’s own predicament within his country, a man who has become homeless by staying home.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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