People of the 20th Century is a 7-volume set, displaying over 600 images from German portrait photographer August Sander and includes essays by experts about his work. Often said to be the father of modern photography, Sander is best known for his portraits from the early 1900s. He believed a portrait should be natural and tell a story rather than posed and stiff. In the 1920s he began to travel around the countryside intent on showing a cross-section of society and eventually dividing his work into seven sections: The Farmer, The Skilled Tradesman, Woman, Classes and Professions, The Artists, The City and The Last People.
Looking through these volumes you see a brick-maker standing with his craft, a boy and his horse and woman with her child. The important thing about these photographs is they give you a window into a way of life from a bygone era. Sander didn't limit himself to people, he took many pictures of landscapes, nature, architecture and street life too, helping to document the city of Cologne before, during and after the war. Prices for books of Sanders work range from $20 to $9,000 on AbeBooks.