“In the nineteenth century, the maintenance of the sitter’s stance and the moment of the ‘take’ were in equilibrium. There would have been little interest in any preceding or succeeding incident. The duration of the pose was integral to itself, a kind of ‘time out’ from inconsequent behaviour. Given such an established stasis, specific clients received images that they could cherish as talismans, file as documents, or keep as mementoes. But for us, with our more fluid and indefinite awareness of temporal life, the ‘time out’ of the formal portrait comes to have the unexpected power and wonder of a phenomenon, a thing that anyone might consider worth having a picture of. We tend to regard the archaic dignities of a community, circulated by portraiture throughout the world, quite knowingly from across a divide and another vantage.”
All photographs by August Sander.