Hans Richard self-portrait, with mechanical timer. Print marked ‘R’ for Rolleiflex. He has cropped the square negative. Note straps of his Exakta camera case, held behind his back.
Izis Bildermanas (usually known as ‘Izis’) was from Lithuania and lived in Paris from 1930. He joined Paris Match in 1950, and was with them for twenty years. In 1953 he came to London to cover the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The escapologist above is Johnny Eagle, and details about him are online.
Apart from covering the Coronation Izis took many photos of London’s East End, and also of the Westbourne Grove/Paddington area. By an interesting coincidence, both he and Hans Richard Griebe photographed Hampden Crescent, W.2. within a year of each other. A working class street in the 1950s it was later demolished as part of the building of the Westway Road. Their photos can be compared in Chapter 15). The Izis photograph of Hampden Crescent is also in Gala Day London. The Queens People, above, was also published by the Harvill Press, London in 1953.
Note in the above photo the tired soldier, and further in the background, the child sitting on the canon barrel.
It is assumed that Herta is a new student at the London School of English. In the photo of her at the Embankment she is looking into the viewfinder of a pre-war Rolleiflex, probably Hans Richard’s. There is a faint possibility that it is hers, and that the photos designated as taken with a Rolleiflex were taken by her. However, the chronology of photographs taken doesn’t fit this surmise: the season in the above photo is turning autumnal, and photos were taken with a Rolleiflex from late August onwards. Secondly, if she had been taking the Rolleiflex photos, she would have had to have given Hans Richard the rolls of film, or once back in Germany, sent him the developed negatives for him to print. She does accompany him to the naval museum to Greenwich, and one or two other locations (see later Chapters), and she has taken one or two photos of him with his Rolleiflex, probably at his request.
“Kanonen, Couples, Kinderchen.”
Without this caption we would not have realised that Hans Richard had been in Britain before. The tantalising thought is that he had been a POW (prisoner of war). German POWs in Britain were made to work on the land after the war, up until the end of 1948, when the last of them were repatriated. However, many thousands of German POWs volunteered to stay on after 1948. Perhaps Hans Richard was one of them? And returned to Germany during 1950, or after?
MV Royal Sovereign.
Next: 11. The East End, Kensington Gardens, Mothers & Babies.