Artworks > Sydney Bechet
“When Chargesheimer photographs jazz
musicians, he shows great artists who have
remained human beings and radiate dignity”
In 1961 Chargesheimer published a Portfolio of his Photographs of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, howing the musicians in brief excerpts: the jazz musician with his trumpet on his mouth or the legendary singer with her hand on the microphone. The large number of negatives from that time and the exceptional quality of the high contrast prints show his deep passion for the jazzworld and its inhabitants: Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker, Lee Konitz, Duke Ellington and Chet Baker. In his portraits the artist did not want to distort but to show the human behind his mask, regardless of whether it was a commissioned session or documentary work. All of Chargesheimer’s photographs have one thing in common: a dissecting, close-up view with which he photographedthe objects, whether it was a Romanesque church or a miner underground, a portrait of a wellknown personality or a Cologne backyard. As a documenter of life itself, Chargesheimer had the eye of a thespian. He photographed the people in their roles that they play in the world, in the costumes that the world has put on them, in the masks that life has shaped for them.
GS: “… And there was never much money in it but he always knew how to survive, he had great friends in Cologne, L. Fritz Gruber, Adalbert Wiemers, Gigi Campi was another great, great supporter…”
JS: “He used to go to the Campi Café… Sit back on the corner and have his coffee.”
GS: “Yeah, sure! He had his reserved seat. That was different Cologne, it doesn’t exist anymore. And he is part of history, a reviver of the history of this city; the Jazz Club, the Jazz concerts: Ella Fitzgerald, Billlie Holiday, he photographed all of that. Unbelievable! And of course, Gigi Campi was always the best place to go. Gigi quite often organized these concerts.”
JS: “He was the Jazz guy of Cologne.”
GS: “Yes, he was. And he was in the middle of it. I was too young. Chargesheimer was born in 27 so he was an adult when all that happened. I was just an upper teenager. I was involved in it and all, but I did not understand everything. It comes now in reflection, when you look at the pictures.”
see the whole interview here
 Zit. n. Begleitheft anlässlich der Ausstellung „Chargesheimer – Bohemien aus Köln“ im Museum Ludwig, Köln, 29. September 2007 – 6. Januar 2008, S. 6.