Europe In B & W, 1973-1974

A thought popped into my head that I have never shown you these photos. Or if I did, I can’t remember it 😉

But since I was 12 years old and found a grandfather’s old twin lens reflex camera – an Ansco – not a Rolleiflex – photography has interested me.

Anyway one of the first things I bought at the PX once arriving at my first station in Landstuhl, Germany was  a Pentax single lens reflex camera. I used a lot of Agfa color slide film, but once I got to my second station at Neubreucke – about 60 miles away – I soon discovered they had for our use a photo lab complete with Leitz enlargers.

Maybe I am getting ahead of myself.

These used film, not digital  ( 😉 ) , and you would place the negative in the enlarger, and like a slide show in reverse, “expose” the photographic paper to make the print that you wanted. I soon learned that this was in itself an art form with the ability to “Burn and Dodge” – allow certain areas to get more or less light to lighten or darken areas of the negative.

Developing it was almost as artful as taking the original photo.


My Pentax was kept busy when traveling as I would rotate from B & W film for my own development, and the Agfa film to be sent away to Agfa’s lab to be developed.

The fellow who ran the photo lab, Willi Schubert, was an interesting character. Drafted in 1939, he ended up on the Eastern Front where he was captured and ended up in a Russian Gulag for 10 years. The only reason he survived was that he was a diesel mechanic and the Russians found a use for him. Only 1 in 10 ever returned in 1955 from those Gulags. I am sure Willi is gone now.

Anyway here are some scenes of Europe from 1973-1974.


Athens, Constitution Square

I had gone on a C-130 from Frankfurt with a Nike-Hercules missile battery for a test shot in Hania Crete. We were allowed a bit of travel afterwards before meeting the C-130 in Athens.


I believe this is the town of Bingen am Rhein, where a lot of wine is produced. this was maybe an hour from my barracks at Neubruecke. There used to be – still is – a riverboat line called the Köln-Düsseldorfer (Cologne-Dusseldorf) where, for maybe 5-10 marks I could hop on and ride on the Rhine river for a few hours. One of the most scenic sections of the Rhine is all about 60 miles north of Mainz, including the “toll castle” and the Lorelei.

What always got me, and continues to this day, is that how few servicemen/women really take any effort in seeing what is around them. Had an acquaintance who served on the Carl Vinson and went around the world 3-4 times, seeing only the bars.

At my time here there were the majority who sat in their barracks to “piss and moan” about their bad luck at being away from “The World”.

As for me, I left the Army and got a bill for $69.23 for “excess leave taken”.  What I had thought was administrative leave was charged to me.

No matter where I was stationed I would have made an effort to see what was around me.


My parents – at Athens. They hadn’t seen me in over a year…My father died 2 years ago; he was a veteran of the 82nd Airborne in WW2. We were both hard headed, and I frequently rebelled.

Although I told him as he was dying that I should have done some of the things he told me to do…Looking back, that seems a blessing that many don’t get to tell their parents…



Florence, Italy




Nahe River by my barracks. It flows into the Rhein…




Bahnhof (?) Strasse – Frankfurt. Forget for sure the street name but that is the Frankfurt train station at the end.



Frankfurt train station – Frankfurt was maybe an hour from my barracks.



Greek Monastery. I would like to say that this was intricately planned but to tell you the truth, I was just shooting for the arches when the monk suddenly appeared and of course, made the picture. An 11 x 14 of this hangs on a wall in my house.

I wonder what Ansel Adams or my more famous photography namesake Bill Brandt would say about “accidents” that made the picture? I believe in Ansel’s case with one of his most famous pictures, Half Dome, he waited over 20 hours to get just the right lighting.



What a symbol of the 60s and early 70s. This was along the Oslo-Bergen rail line, and involved a Norwegian soldier.


Paris, Avenue des Champs-Élysées



Trier, Germany and the Roman Basilica. Trier, along the Mosel River, was a northern Roman outpost and has some interesting Roman ruins although the Basilica was still used.




Trier, Porta Nigra  It is the largest Roman gate north of the Alps.


Trier, Germany

When I shot this, I thought I was getting just a street scene. Only when the photo started forming in the solution bathed in the red light did I have to smile, to see the different interests in these 2 young men.


“The Ring”, Vienna

I found Vienna to be fascinating. Until the end of WW1, it was the capital of over 100 million citizens in the Hapsburg Empire. Now it is the capital of tiny Austria. When I was there, it had 40% fewer people than in 1900. It was a living museum.

The Ring runs around all of these magnificent old palaces and govt buildings.




Prater Park, Vienna. Reminds me of the movie The Third Man.


Frankfurt Subway. Shot during a blizzard.


Filed under Good Stuff, Life

6 responses to “Europe In B & W, 1973-1974

  1. Pingback: My Army Introduction To Germany | The Lexicans

  2. Richard Zohn

    Bill – I grew up in Germany (brat) in the 60’s & 70’s. Later I too was fortunate to have been stationed there. Absolutely LOVED going through your blog & pictures. Brought back a lot of good memories – Thank You!

    • Bill Brandt

      Thank you Richard. It is funny where life takes you. I look back on my Army days in Germany as a highlight of my life.

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