Berlin: A Photo Essay
by Bill Carpenter
Click on a photo, then use the arrows on the image or thumbnails below to navigate.
We began to hit some turbulence. The pilot informed us that because we were flying over East Germany—Soviet airspace—our flight path was restricted. It was something that had never occurred to me when I signed up for the tour.
It was hard to pass up the Fourth of July American Express Tour to Berlin. A three-day pass, and any escape from the confines of military life was welcome. Besides, Berlin? How could I resist a city so immersed in Cold War intrigue? So, with my buddies, Tom and Don, we decided to take the Tour.
These photos of West Berlin (including some looking into East Berlin) that I took fifty years ago, reveal a city both vibrant and still recovering from the horrors of war. If you are curious I encourage you to access sources such as Google maps and Wikipedia to explore the places I photographed and how they’ve changed where I’ve identified them.
My pictures are only moments, frozen in time, but we live in a time—because of the media we have available—where it becomes increasingly difficult to hide the past.
At the time I took the photos I was thinking visual, not historical; the eye of an artist, not an historian or photojournalist. My hope is that you will be drawn to them as a momentary involvement with the past.
I want to thank my nephew Greg McCue—who has lived in Berlin for a number of years—and his girlfriend Jacey Bingler—a German national—for spending the time with me to help identify many of the buildings and locations.