Sunday, June 24, 2012

LIFE Photographer Walter Sanders

Today we are going to cover the work of LIFE photographer Walter Sanders. Sanders who was born in Germany, but left for the US after Hitler came to power, had the unique opportunity to return to his native land after the war. He photographed a unique part of the new infrastructure, the Constabulary units. The Constabulary units were a military force that served in Germany until 1952 as a means of providing the stability that Germany’s post-war government could not. They patrolled the borders, provided security, seized contraband, etc. But while in Germany, Sanders also discovered the work of one Wally Cohn.
Cohn, who himself had been born in Germany and whose family left when the anti-Semitic fervor increased, had a post-war design idea for the jeep as he was serving with the Army Air Force in Nuremberg. Using a late 1930’s German Opel Olympia, he married the car’s coachwork to the jeep drivetrain in a beautiful blending of form and function. It was certainly unique, but not the first idea of its kind.
The unnamed models that Cohn created seem to be lost to time. I have no idea if any of them still exist or if they ever made their eventual way to the states. They follow the footsteps of an earlier vision by the designer Brooks Stevens (of the Jeepster, Wagon, Forward Control, Wagoneer and Cherokee fame...) of a post-war ‘Victory’ car based upon the jeep. Read more research on the Victor car by eWillys’ Dave Eilers here.

Outside of unofficial coachwork modifications such as larger fenders, hardtops and yes, even bubbletops that were performed on the MB in many a motor pool (see some

excellent Hemmings Motor News articles here and here) they gained such an interest with the bored GIs of the occupation forces that they were officially endorsed in competitions sponsored by the American command in Germany. Popular Science, in fact, had already beaten them to the punch by asking for reader’s ideas on a post-war prettying-up of the jeep in their February 1944 issue which you can read here.
I love these photos by Sanders of Cohn and his jeep that were so beautifully shot.  For even more info, there are other excellent articles by eWillys here and Hemmingshere. Make sure that you scroll all the way down to the comments section in the Hemmings article to read an entry by Wally Cohn’s grandson.
Come back next week and we will have the last entry by the last remaining LIFE photographer. Its a large one and I may even have to split it up into two weeks. The week or possibly two following that I will mop up with entries on the uncredited photographs and the extras by the photographers that I already have detailed that I have found afterwards in my research. 
I am also looking for more detailed bios and info on any of the LIFE photographers shown here. Especially for Walter Sanders’ career. I just could not find much concrete info on him and many others such as John Downey, Nat Farbman, William C. Shrout, George Skadding, George Strock, James Whitmore and Jack Wilkes. If you have anything to add, please contact me at Thanks.
And PS. If you haven’t already seen it, I designed a new t-shirt based upon nine vintage jeep advertisements. Its the perfect tee for summer! Check it out here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Walker, Whitmore, Wild And Wilkes Of LIFE

This morning its another mixed bag of photos from some of the last four LIFE photographers that we’ve been showcasing for the past two weeks. The longest is James Whitmore’s series from LIFE magazine’s story from Lebanon and the UN’s efforts there during their civil war. The rest show the jeep again being greeted by cheering crowds, the fighting jeep in Korea and the GPA ‘Seep’ becoming a tool of leisure in the French Riviera in 1947. Enjoy the photos today. I am down to the last two LIFE photographers now and will cover them on Sundays again. I will be taking a break from updates tomorrow and Sunday’s will be a large one. Can you guess the last two photogs? The last Sunday in the LIFE Magazine Photo archive will be all the anonymous and uncredited photos with a possible further entry with all of the extra stuff that I have found just from doing a bit of bio research for the photographers. Enjoy your weekend and check out all the albums here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Scherman, Shrout And Skadding Of LIFE Magazine

From the first pre-standardized prototype, the Bantam BRC-60 to the regular production Willys MB and Ford GPW, the three LIFE Magazine photographers today, David E. Scherman, William C. Shrout and George Skadding have seen them all. Enjoy this small, but eclectic group of photos of the timeless jeep from the pages of LIFE tonight. Find them here. We’re almost done but have alot more to show you!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

From The GPA To The GP In LIFE Magazine

Five photographers from LIFE Magazine today brought five totally different visions and contexts to the jeep. George Strock brings us a short series of Ford’s pre-production prototype, the GP. I always liked the look of the GP with its angular front fenders and slat grill. Frank Scherschel has a series of the jeep during the liberation of France. Joyful crowds cheered the jeeps as a symbol of the Allies storming in to free them. There are three from George Silk who mainly shot in Europe during the war. Charles E. Steinheimer shot a long series of the amphibious Ford GPA (or better known as the ‘Seep’ for seagoing jeep...) in Detroit making good use of the city’s proximity to the Rouge River. And Paul Schutzer shot Pope Paul VI in an official all-white 3B in the days before the Popemobile! Come back tomorrow! There’s STILL more to come! See all the albums here!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Six More With LIFE Magazine And The Jeep

Six more talented photographers stretching from the 1930’s through the 1960’s and the glory days of LIFE magazine. If you have some of the best photographers working during those years of course they are going to stumble upon the jeep at work, play and in action. Today’s entry covers, Thomas D. Mcavoy, Ralph Morse, John Phillips, Hart Preston, George Rodger and Howard Sochurek. The photos cover the gamut between testing of the aquatic MB to the liberation of Europe, the early days of Israel and the fighting in Vietnam. Come back tomorrow for more! See all the albums here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dmitri Kessel, LIFE Photographer

Dmitri Kessel had a long career in photography spanning some 60 years and while at LIFE he shot a series of photographs at the Willys-Overland plant in Toledo. They remain some of my favorite photos in the LIFE collection. They show the regular men and women involved in assembling the MB in the early years of our involvement in the war. Shot in June 1942 they show the way that we lived and worked 70 years ago. Seventy years ago these men and women were contributing to the war effort in a very important and lasting way, the building of the jeep. I doubt whether they were trained engineers, but probably regular working class, blue collar Americans. I wonder if they had any idea of how valued and appreciated and sought after the fruits of their labors would be become a generation later. Enjoy and come back tomorrow. PS. On a side note. I noticed that the data plates in this photo are in Cyrillic. Perhaps it was built for export only? The D.O.D. appears to be 1/ 14 or 24/ 41. I had also noticed something drawn onto or in the dust on the windshield of the photo on the left. I reversed it, but still can’t quite make it out. Any ideas? It looks like ‘Br...t...d’. Hmmm...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Jeep In The Pacific With LIFE’s George Lacks And Carl Mydans

Just as there was much work to be done in Europe after the war to rebuild, there was a similar amount on the other side of the world. The jeep, once a part of the war machine, now served as a trusty companion for the forces who worked to wrap up the war and build a peace time world. From George Lacks’ photo of a jeep disembarking a cargo plane in China to Carl Mydan’s shots in the Philippines and the scrapped excess war materiel stored on Okinawa and a short time later the re-emergence of war in Korea, the jeep played a prominent role in the activities in this key part of the world. Enjoy the photos today and come back tomorrow for more!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Kauffman, Kirkland and Kelley Of LIFE Magazine

From testing its capabilities and limits to anti-integration riots to aiding after disasters to toting around Generals, the jeep has done it and seen it all. More so than any other military vehicle in history the jeep has served in wartime and peace. See three more talented LIFE photographers in today’s edition of the LIFE Magazine Photo Archive...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Four More LIFE Photographers- Elisofon, Farbman, Grant And Hansen

Another busy day with four new photographers who continue the tradition of photographic excellence in LIFE magazine’s history- Eliot Elisofon, Nat Farbman, Allan Grant and Marie Hansen. We have everything from Hansen’s coverage of WAC’s to Grant’s photo essay of early American auto life on Highway 30. Highway 30 is part of the first trans-continental American highway, the Lincoln Highway. Today Highway 30 runs from Oregon to New Jersey. You can view many more of the route 30 photos here with a short essay and find the rest of the images from July 1948 starting here. Of course, a 2A figures into American’s earliest road trip impulses! Enjoy the day and come back tomorrow for more! PS. I also included a link to a Hemming’s article on the elliptical wheel ‘jeep’ in the Bernard Hoffman album that I added to yesterday. Click here to view the entire albums.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

LIFE Photographers, Andreas Feininger And John Florea

More truly accomplished photographers today make their debuts in the continuation of the LIFE Magazine Photo Archive here at Feininger was best known for his scientific still lives and architectural photography, but in March 1944 he shot along the assembly lines of what I would assume to be Willys-Overland of workers churning out the famous MB. Florea was a talented war correspondent as well with the Marines and Navy in the South Pacific before going into television directing in Los Angeles. He directed from the 50’s up to the 80’s and did episodes of ChiPs, The Dukes of Hazzard and MacGuyver. (Bet you never thought that I’d mention The Dukes of Hazzard here, outside of Daisy’s Golden Eagle...) But before that he did alot of spectacular photography. Thanks for the patience yesterday and come back tomorrow. Still trying to work out the download size problem in earlier albums but these seem to be working. I have also found even more photos, but they’ll have to wait until the very end. More tomorrow and check out today's entries here!

Monday, June 11, 2012

LIFE Magazine And The Jeep- Myron Davis And John Dominis

Tonight we have the work of two outstanding photographers who were found by LIFE magazine at a young age, John Dominis and Myron Davis. Both served in the armed forces and had plenty of opportunities to become acquainted with the jeep. During their stints with LIFE they shot some amazing work which we will have here tonight. Tonight I have also found even more by them that I will be including at a later date. Enjoy these shots from testing of Willys slat grills at Camp Holabird to early civilian farm work (and possibly sharing a common source of many press photos at CESOR farms?) to jeeps put out to pasture in Korea a decade after the war and even ski bunnies in the 70’s! Check it out here! Come back tomorrow for more!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Continuation Of The LIFE Magazine Photo Archives

This week and for the next we are going to welcome back the entries into the LIFE Magazine Photo Archive here at Over the course of its regular weekly publication from 1936 to 1972, LIFE Magazine was a pre-eminent source of photojournalism covering two major wars. Of course in the course of these wars the jeep played a major role and photojournalists captured the jeep playing its part in the affairs of human history. Some of these you will have surely seen before, but hopefully there will be some surprises too! These photos are the property of Time/LIFE and are available through a search using the terms “jeep source:life” and are kindly hosted by Google. They are also for personal and non-commercial use only, so please enjoy them. I will try to provide you with everything that I have found over the course of these next two weeks. If you find something that I have missed kindly email me at I will try to have an occasional update here at the site, but probably won’t every day. Check back here everyday to see more!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The 2012 Calendar- June

This Sunday in the month of June, the month of so many sacrifices for one of the greatest undertakings in military history, we have the ubiquitous MB. The MB in the photo is doing what it does best, taking the men and cargo where they need to go under no matter what circumstances. The photo today of an MB crossing a swiftly flowing river is a great example of the do anything attitude that the jeep had and in return passed onto the men and women who piloted one. Remember that though the year is half over you can still buy a 2012 calendar directly from our online store. There is still plenty more to see in it! Check back in next week for lots more in the world of the jeep. I’m not sure what I’m going to be beginning, but there is plenty to choose from in the list of ideas for projects that I’d like to begin. See you next week!