, , ,

Susan Sontag remarks on the work of August Sander:

Unselfconsciously, Sander adjusts his style to the social rank of the person he was photographing. Professionals and the rich tend to be photographed indoors, without props. They speak for themselves. Labourers and derelicts are usually photographed in a setting (often outdoors) which locates them, which speaks for them – as if they could not be assumed to have the kinds of separate identities normally achieved in the middle and upper classes (Sontag, 1977: 61).

Later she suggests that the great photographic portraits of America — those by Walker Evans and Robert Frank — have been ‘deliberately random’ (Sontag, 1977:61). My Assignment involves the photographing of two ‘populations’ of people found on a particular street. I do not wish to change the style depending on the group, but photograph ‘at random’ between the two groups. One group however (the ‘worker’ group) will usually be photographs with props such as for example musical instruments, advertising signs. But so also the ‘shopper’ group with shopping bags, bunches of cut flowers and so on.


Sontag, Susan (1977) On Photography, London, Penguin Books