THE LIFE OF AUGUST - Part 1 of 2

As I mentioned before, I found this fantastic book at a small flea market in Lisbon while I was searching for some local “delicacies”. The moment I saw the cover I knew that flipping the book open wouldn’t disappoint me. This old man, August, seemed like he carries a whole lot of stories behind his eyes. And I was right…

"Ein Leben auf dem Lande," a life on the countryside. That’s what this book is about. In the late 1970s, Bettina Secker was working on a photo documentary about life and work on the countryside. Near Preetz (Northern Germany) she met August’s daughter Hertha who invited her to the farm where August worked as a farmhand.

She spent a lot of time with the family, the confidence between them grew more and more - I think that this can be seen in the photographs. They look like so much more than just quick snapshots, and that’s what I love about the book: it gives you the feeling that you’re in between and not only an observer.

IMAGE INFO: © Bettina Secker, late 1970s, From the book “August - Ein Leben auf dem Lande”

» read part 2 of the story «  |  » find more photobooks here «

THE LIFE OF AUGUST - Part 2 of 2

"I could write a whole book about my life," August says.
"And why don’t you do it?,"
Bettina asks.
"I haven’t got any time for that."
"And what if I would write it for you?"
"Hhhm… ok, then give it a try… let’s see how it turns out…"

August was born in 1904 in Falkendorf, near Preetz. His whole life happened within a radius of about 45 kilometres around this village, except the time in World War II. He never was interested in geography: "Why should I learn about countries that I will never visit?"

Most of his life he worked as a farmhand or day laborer for local farmers. In 1928 he started working at a big farm where he should stay for many decades, together with his wife Margarethe, who started working as milkmaid (against her wishes).

I wonder if August, if he’s not dead yet, and his family are still living there. Maybe I’ll visit the area to see how all the places I know from the book look like today, would be a great experience I guess…

Ah, one last thing: August insisted on approving the book design before it was printed:


"Hereby I confirm that I agree with the photos, the content and writing."
(Feb. 29, 1979; August S.)

IMAGE INFO: © Bettina Secker, late 1970s, From the book “August - Ein Leben auf dem Lande”

» read part 1 of the story «  |  » find more photobooks here «