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Camera Work Gallery Presents Work By Haase and Susanne Schapowalow
© Susanne Schapowalow, Louis Armstrong.

BERLIN.- Camera Work gallery presents today work by Esther Haase and Susanne Schapowalow. The exhibition, with photographs by the young photographer Esther Haase, is devoted to Tango dance. Esther Haase’s vivid photographs reflect the dynamic of dance. During her training to become a ballet dancer, she very early on discovered her love for dance as “a direct and intimate medium of expression”. The artist’s photographs are not about acrobatic performance, but rather about the passion, the desire, the freedom, the eroticism and the dedication of the body during the length of a dance. Esther Haase stages the joy of the body and therefore its resulting eroticism, with dancers and models in the original scenery of local bars and in the milongas between Buenos Aires, Havanna and Santiago.

George Bernhard Shaw fittingly described Tango with the following words : “ Tango is the vertical expression of horizontal desire”.

Esther Haase completed her classical dance training at the national academy in Cologne and subsequently danced on stage for many years. From 1988 to 1993 she studied at the Hochschule der KŁnste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Bremen. She then worked for the Art Department of Vogue Men in Munich. Since 1993 she has been working as a photographer and travels around the world for her assignments. For her work, Esther Haase has received numerous national and international distinctions and prizes such as the Reinhard-Wolf Prize, the Art Directors Club (ADC) Gold and the Kodak Photo prize.

In comparison, the 40 portrait photographs of the 87 year old photographer Susanne Schapowalow, offer us fascinating insight into the time when Rock n’ Roll was still named Jazz and was still a worldwide movement. These photographs have never been shown fully enlarged before. With a closeness to the artist that is today unthinkable, the portraits show famous jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Miles Davis or Quincy Jones, whose band she accompanied for two months as it toured throughout Europe. Her close friendship with her subject, such as Duke Ellington or Chet Baker allowed her to render the unique concert atmosphere but also an extraordinarily intimate view of behind the scenes and of the private lives of the musicians.

The two photographs of the famous German jazz trumpeter Fred Bunge in the ruined landscape of bombed Hamburg show a post-war era, in which the staunch and authentic will to live and start over is visible, beyond the expensive staging/production of today. The exhibition will be completed with portraits of significant people such as Ernst Rowohlt, Igor Strawinsky or Albert Schweitzer—the latter having had allowed the once young photographer to take only two pictures of him. Or Orson Welles who interpreted in Hamburg the offer of marriage to Ruth Niehaus, the German Rita Hayworth of the 1950s.

Born in 1922 in Berlin, the artist has been working since the 1940s as a photographer for newspapers and magazines such as Kristall, Stern, Der Spiegel or GEO. The highlights of her work were jazz, architecture and new music. Over the years, a vast photo archive was compiled; the first part is accessible. At the end of the 1960s the photographer founded the “Photo Agency Susanne Schapowalow” with an emphasis on “worldwide tourism”. After many successful years, she eventually sold the agency in 2003. The artist now lives in Bad Malente.

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