From The Rubble

Waldemar Seybold was an eleven-year old boy in 1945 at the end of WW2. Russian soldiers were billeted at his home during the occupation. The largest of those soldiers, who Seybold described as a big bear of a man, was quiet and kind. Upon leaving, he asked Seybold’s mother if he could give her son a 4 x 5 camera he had found in the rubble of a demolished town. This is how his photographic journey began.

In 1956 Seybold fought in the Hungarian Uprising and fled Hungary as a political refugee. He enjoyed many new freedoms, but none more than the opportunity to listen to his favourite music – jazz. Under Communist rule, contact with Western culture was a risky and decadent business; radio was restricted. Fast-forward to 1964 when he saw Louis Armstrong at Festival Hall and his passion for jazz gig photography was born.

Seybold met many great musicians of the old guard, such as, John Sangster and Nat Adderly whom he loved as much for their friendly personality and gentlemanly ways as for their talent, but when Seybold met Bob Sedergreen, all the images came together because Sedergreen loved Seybold’s work. Through friendship and mutual professional admiration, windows were opened onto the world of jazz greats in Australia.

Pushing the boundaries of technical prowess became a game amongst the other ex-patriots he worked with in his day job at the State Electrical Commission. Three were keen photographers whose enthusiasm and inventiveness helped build each other’s technical skills. This was crucial because Seybold wanted to photograph the music as well as the musicians, which is hard without serious technical skills.

His skills speak for themselves in Seybold’s latest exhibition All That Jazz – Australian Legends and Friends at Cube 37 (Frankston Arts Centre) until June 14. Don’t miss this photographic journey through the lives and music of the greatest jazz musicians to ever hit our shores.