Video: The Young farmers

This fascinating 10 minute video explores the photo, ‘The Young Farmers 1914’ by August Sander.

August Sanders was a German photographer, who aimed to photograph people all over Germany in different professions for his project about people of the twentieth century.

The video poses some ideas about the young men in the photograph, their lives, who they were and what they might have been thinking about their lives ahead, before history intervened.

It’s also about what photography doesn’t tell, and what we can never know by looking at one mere frame of someone’s life.

This video explores the historical context of the photo and of the young men, who in this photo are on their way to a dance, but as the date indicates, are about to get swallowed up into World War 1.

The team at PBS also tracked down what happened to these three men, giving the photo a startling new atmosphere, once you know what lies ahead for them.

The presenter said this and it particularly struck me as a way that we respond to photography:

“Photography can make us feel like we’ve seen things we haven’t really seen. Or know people we’ll never really meet. But a picture is not a life. The Young Farmers is about what the boys don’t know, but also about what we don’t know, and what a picture cannot show us.”