What This Photo Doesn't Show | Summary and Q&A

February 28, 2019
The Art Assignment
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What This Photo Doesn't Show


"Young Farmers 1914" by August Sander depicts three young men on their way to a dance, capturing a moment of both hope and uncertainty before World War I.

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Key Insights

  • 🧑‍🌾 August Sander's "Young Farmers 1914" is part of his extensive project to capture the diverse people of Germany in the 20th century.
  • 💅 The photograph represents a pivotal moment in history, as the young men were unknowingly on the verge of the outbreak of World War I.
  • 💆 The fashion choices in the photograph reflect the impact of industrialization and mass media on rural communities.
  • 💅 The tension between the young men's poses and the rural landscape highlights the conflicts between tradition and modernity.
  • 🛟 The photograph serves as a reminder of the unpredictability of history and the limitations of capturing a single moment in time.
  • 💅 The lives of the young men depicted in the photograph were deeply affected by World War I, with one dying in action and others being wounded.
  • 👨‍👩‍👦 Otto Krieger, one of the young men, had a personal connection with August Sander, as his family had been previously photographed by Sander.


thanks to sun basket for supporting PBS Digital Studios the photographer August sander called this famous picture young farmers 1914 sander actually took many pictures of young farmers this one is called young farmers as is this one for his massive never finished project people of the 20th century sander sought to photograph all sorts of people in ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why is the photograph called "Young Farmers 1914" when the men were not farmers?

The photograph was titled based on the assumption that the men were farmers. However, in reality, they were young miners and an office worker, reflecting their participation in the industrial economy.

Q: What is the significance of the fashion choices in the photograph?

The suits worn by the young men represent the availability and attraction of urban fashion in rural areas due to industrialization and mass media influences.

Q: How does the photograph capture the tension between their fashionable poses and the pastoral landscape?

The dandy-like poses with cigarettes and canes seem out of place in the rural setting, highlighting the conflict between traditional rural life and the modernizing world.

Q: How were the lives of these young men affected by World War I?

Two of the young men, Otto and August, were assigned to the German armed forces and sent to fight in the war. August died in action, while Otto was wounded twice but survived. Evald, assigned to a different regiment, also experienced war wounds but made it back to his village.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • "Young Farmers 1914" is a famous photograph taken by August Sander as part of his project to document the people of 20th-century Germany.

  • The picture showcases the three young men, dressed in fashionable suits, with their heads held high, symbolizing the merging of urban fashion with rural life.

  • The photograph represents a moment of innocence and unknown future, as the three young men were on their way to two dances, one being the imminent outbreak of World War I.

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