Photographer, painter, sculptor, stage designer, graphic designer, exhibition designer, and one-time opera director, Chargesheimer was born Karl Hargesheimer in 1924 in Cologne where he lived most of his life. His studies of photography and design at university were cut short with the outbreak of WWII. He was opposed to the War and successfully avoided military service. In 1948 he joined a professional artists' union and he changed his name to Chargesheimer, a contraction of his given name.
Chargesheimer photographed post-war Cologne extensively, creating numerous books. His images of the city, its people, and portraits of significant figures, are both expressively dynamic works of art and historic documents of post-war Germany.
As early as the late 1940s, Chargesheimer began to explore abstraction in photography with photograms and montages. This "chemigram" is part of a body of cameraless work he made utilizing photographic paper, developer and fixer. In 1961 he made an edition of 25 unique deluxe books containing 10 matted and bound "chemigrams".