A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF A RECENT COSMO OUTING
On 27th April I took part with around a dozen other ladies from our Cosmo Club in an outing in the southern part of Cologne. We met at the usual time of 12 30 at a fairly new place for lunch : the Dejlig Cafe in Bonner Straße.
The Cafe is rather small, as are most eateries in this part of town. I also believe it’s a fairly new place and the two owners ( Michael and Nicole, all things Scandinavian friendly ) plus their dogs Elvis and Yogi, were keen to welcome us and serve us in a friendly manner.We started with drinks on the house, and chose from a menu of Smørrebrød, a cold snack variety. I personally prefer a hot meal when I am out and chose a tasty hot vegetarian meal. The seating was scattered around the cafe. Some of us preferred to sit outside, enjoying the spring sunshine, others sat inside, I myself joined a slightly bigger group in a small room adjoining the main part of the cafe.
I felt the service was observant of our needs and accommodating of individual wishes. As a conclusion a diﬀerent drink was oﬀered on the house.
Thus fortified we left to visit the Sander Gallery a few houses away from the Cafe.
The owner, Julian Sander, himself welcomed us and conducted the viewing in English. I had not heard of this Portrait Gallery, nor had I heard of the well known photographer August Sander. As a fairly recent newcomer to Germany ( or not so recent maybe any more ) I may be forgiven my ignorance.
But I am nearly always open to learning something new, and that definitely was the case that afternoon.
The main room, i e. the big entrance room, contained a large wall of enlarged black and white portraits of men and women. The photos were taken by August Sander and the exhibition is titled “People without Masks” ( Menschen ohne Maske) . Our guide told us that these were portraits taken by the subjects being aware of the proceedings, so not incidental photos, with some exceptions.
I had the impression that I was not alone in being aﬀected by the expressiveness of each portrait. I remember for instance that the hands of the photographed subjects were also worth taking note of, as they too represented details of the personality of the photographed person. The artist August Sander- I will definitely call him that, although I am a total layperson- was in my estimation very intuitive in seeing his subjects not only as an individuality representing a particular period in the early 20th century, but also his/ her professional and societal place at that time.
And yet, the individual character of each subject shines through. I cannot help feeling that August Sander was empathetic with the personality of each of his clients. I could not see judgment, but only interested and intelligent treatment of each of his subjects.
For me, a fascinating excursion into portrait photography. A document of that part of German history, but also a feeling of respect for this photographer, who displayed an intelligent understanding of the layers of the society of that period and a deep view of each of the depicted individuals without judgment. In short, an education was had this afternoon….at least for me.
Thanks to the organiser. And thanks to all the organising ladies, who seem to come up with ever new suggestions to entertain and educate us.
So, an afternoon well spent.