Siegen. Thomas Kellner has been working for 5 months already on the third part of his trilogy about Siegen and the Siegerland. Now he portrays people from Siegen. After the first part about the half-timbered houses, which Bernhard and Hilla Becher had photographed, a second part about the chapel schools of the Nassau dominion, it is now Siegener, who live, or work here. In a total of four years, in about 8000 working hours, a picture of the Siegen society in portraits is created. The pictures resemble the half-timbered houses in their language of form and color, which together form a bracket around the contact arches of the half-timbered houses. On the 60th anniversary of his death in the spring of 2024, at the same time as the 800th birthday of the city of Siegen, a first inventory will be on display as an exhibition in the Artgalerie. Until then, Thomas Kellner continues to photograph and is happy about anyone and everyone who comes forward as models.
So far, there have been: oral and maxillofacial surgeon, high school student, study councilor, academic councilor, pensioner, professional soldier, journalist, private citizen, pensioner, artist, event facilitator, typographer, entrepreneur, retired building hardware dealer, retired school principal, entrepreneur, tiler, publicist, graduate designer, judicial clerk, school principal, retiree, senior teacher, retiree, dental assistant, occupational therapist, district student spokesperson, retired bank executive, artist, social pedagogue, twins, dental assistant, artist, chimney sweep, master chimney sweep, medical team, editor, German Arts Council spokesperson, retired teacher, editor, designer, paramedic, house technician, cleaner, student nurse, kitchen manager, visionary, entrepreneur, artist, doctor, psychotherapist, managing director, trainee office management assistant, doctor, operating room nurse, operating room nurse, graphic designer, service manager, theater pedagogue, PR consultant, musician, student, child, specialist nurse and surgical technician, electrical engineer and medical assistant, university lecturer, archivist, accountant, photographer, artist, singer song writer, foreign language secretary/technical translator, retired CNC miller & nurse. Ret. & retired nurse/garden lover, retired elementary school principal, integration worker and chiropodist.
August Sander - The pioneer of social photography
August Sander was born on November 17, 1876 in Herdorf in the Westerwald and died on April 20, 1964 in Cologne. He is considered one of the most important portrait photographers of the 20th century.
Sander was a representative of the New Objectivity in photography. He wanted his photographs to show an objective and comprehensive picture of German society. He photographed people from all walks of life, from workers and farmers to artists and scientists. Sander created a unique collection of portraits that is now considered an important document of 20th century German history.
Sander's best-known work is the portfolio "People of the 20th Century." The series contains over 600 portraits taken by Sander between 1912 and 1950. The series was first published in 1929 and is now considered a masterpiece of German photography.
Sander died in Cologne in 1964. He is one of the most important photographers of the 20th century. His photographs are an important document of German history and culture.
Life and Work:
Sander began his photographic career in the early 1920s. His work was characterized by a documentary and socially critical approach. He focused on portraying and capturing the lives of people during the Weimar Republic and later during the Nazi era.
One of his most famous works is the project "People of the 20th Century," which he worked on for decades. In this project, Sander wanted to create a comprehensive portrait of German society by photographing people from different social classes and professions. His images depicted craftsmen, farmers, intellectuals, artists, workers, and many others, emphasizing the individuality and uniqueness of each person.
Sander believed that photography should not only be a means of artistic expression, but also a means of understanding and documenting society. His photographs thus also became a social study, capturing the diversity and complexity of people in his time.
Influence and Legacy:
August Sander's work had a significant impact on 20th century photography. He is considered one of the pioneers of documentary photography and portraiture. His images opened new avenues for portraying people and their circumstances in an honest and unadorned way.
Although Sander did not always receive recognition during his life and his work was even ostracized during the Nazi era, today he is celebrated as one of the most important photographers of his time. His photographs are not only artistic masterpieces, but also valuable historical documents that give us a glimpse into the lives of people in the 20th century.
His legacy lives on today in many photographers who are inspired by his approach and carry forward his idea that photography can be a tool to understand and critically reflect on society.
For the tribute to August Sander for his 150th birthday in 2026, Thomas Kellner portrays 1% of Siegen's inhabitants or those who work here. The city of Siegen has 105579 inhabitants (January 27, 2023). So this means that Thomas Kellner's goal is to photograph 1056 people of this big city. The diversity of the population is reflected from the statistical data of the city. Of the people portrayed so far, 93% are German (82% of the population are actually German citizens). Of these, 55% are men target is 50% and 45% are women (50% women are the target).29% of the people to be photographed should have a migration background (15% so far). Without migration background it needs 0.71 the target is 85%.
Many nations live under one roof.
Thomas Kellner also wants to show the cultural diversity of the city, since many people who live or work in Siegen have different backgrounds.
For people with European roots, he needs 3 Bulgarians, 1 French, 5 Croats, 2 Greeks, 7 Italians, 1 Latvian, 1 Lithuanian, 1 Dutch, 1 Austrian, 7 Poles, 1 Portuguese, 12 Romanians, 1 Slovak and 1 Swedish. For people with roots outside the European Union, it requires 24 Turks, 21 people from the former Yugoslavia, 18 people from the former Soviet Union, 13 people from Africa, 1 person with Canadian or American roots. People from other countries are also welcome.
Thomas Kellner also needs 2 people with roots from Central or Southern South America, 52 people with Asian background 4 people with no home country. People of other countries are also welcome.
Demographics of the city.
Thomas Kellner also models the age pyramid of the metropolitan society living in Siegen. The models are recorded in nine different age groups. Here are some numbers: Up to 10 years, 98 children should be photographed (6% of the models so far), up to 19 years, 94 young people (2% so far), up to 29 years, 164% should be photographed (1% so far), up to 39 years, 146 people (7% so far), up to 49 years, 119 people (9% so far),up to 59 years, 148 people (23% so far), up to 69 years, 131 people (41% so far), up to 79 years, 86 people (17% so far), up to 90 years, 63 people (9% so far) and over 90 years, 9 people (1% so far).
Schooling. The photo artist encounters people with different educational backgrounds. He is looking for 48 people without a degree (0% so far), 22 people who are still studying (6% so far), 343 people who attended the Hauptschule (15% so far),169 people who attended the Realschule (23% so far), 70 people who graduated from a Fachoberschule (9% so far) and finally 190 people should have graduated from the Abitur (55% so far).