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May 9, 2022

50 Fascinating Black and White Photographs Capture Street Scenes of London in the Summer of 1954

Hans Richard Griebe of Kiel went to London in August 1954 to take part in a short course of ‘Colloquial English’ run by the The London School of English in Oxford Street. He brought with him a 35 mm Exakta camera with a standard and a telephoto lens, and a medium format Rolleiflex camera.

His album which he called Camera Abroad (in German: Exakta geht fremd) is an extraordinary record of a London emerging from the rigors of the 1940s, traveling on its way towards Harold MacMillan’s ‘You’ve Never Had it so Good’. It also upsets notions of grey, wet foggy London Town of the early 1950s. This is a mostly vibrant, stylish city, with the Festival of Britain only a few years old, and many of its features on the South Bank intact.

As with all great photographers he had the ‘eye’ – yes, for women, but also the ambience of London, and its people. Hans-Richard’s delight in London’s women captures the wonderful styles of clothing that were around that Indian summer. Although some of the sequences of women might seem disturbing – basically he was following them along busy streets – he had no difficulty in asking them if he could photograph them.

After six weeks in London it was time to go home to Kiel. He left from Victoria railway station, catching the Ostend train.

(Photos by Hans Richard Griebe, via London Town ’54)


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