August Sander, ‘The Woman of the Soil’ 1912, printed 1990
August Sander
The Woman of the Soil 1912, printed 1990
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010
© Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Cologne; DACS, London, 2019.

Early photobooks were used to illustrate the work of individual photographers or a new type of photographic process. William Henry Fox Talbot published a photobook in 1844 called The Pencil of Nature in order to promote his calotype photographic process.

Over the years, photobooks have helped to establish the idea that a sequence of images represents a narrative in its own right. The German photographer August Sander published Face of Our Time, in 1929, part of his life-long project to create a comprehensive photographic index of the German population.

Today photobooks are crucial for financing and circulating modern photography enabling enthusiasts access to a wide range of photographers from across the world.