The Adventures of a Leica

Gunther Walker

May 9, 2023

Gunther Walker speaks about the adventurous story of a Leica camera that is nearly 100 years old. This incredible camera even spent a short time under ground, during World War II.
“In the autumn of 1932, after getting his first teaching job, my grandfather Alfred Bosler bought a new Leica camera. A passionate photographer, he documented his life, just as many others did; this resulted in pictures of skiing, mountain hiking and a steamship trip to Norway. He also recorded his wedding and, following his honeymoon, images of family life.

In September, 1939, he was drafted as a reservist and had to go to war. After he survived the campaign on the Western Front, his daughter – my mother – was born in August of 1940. He took photographs of holidays and the early stages of her life, as well as of his time in the military.

In June of 1941, Grandfather and his division were sent to Russia. The Leica remained at home, and photos were sent to the front by his wife through the field post. My grandfather never came home. On May 8, 1942, he fell during a troop assault in Russia.

The Leica, however, continued its life with my grandmother, Elfriede Bosler (1912-1999). She went on taking pictures throughout the war. In April of 1945, when the Americans took over the little town of Kirchberg an der Jagst, all cameras were confiscated. Because my grandma didn’t want to give up her dead husband’s beloved Leica, she decided to bury it, along with other items of value, in a field outside the town wall. It was only after the American unit had moved on, in November of 1945, that my grandma was able to dig up and recover her things.

Following the war, the Leica was often used as a family camera - all the way into the seventies. The last picture we still have was taken on May 17, 1974, on my fifth birthday. After that, the Leica rested in a drawer for 45 years.

In May, 2019, my mother gave me the Leica for my fiftieth birthday. After so many years without being used, the camera and its lens had to undergo an intensive check up. After that, it came back to life!

Taking pictures with the Leica awakened my interest in analogue photography. Equally important was the chance to establish a new relationship with my grandparents, who are always with me, thanks to the camera. My relationship with the Leica continues to evolve; it’s my constant companion during my many hikes in the Peak District (England), where I live.”
Text: © Gunther Walker

Gunther Walker+-

© Gunther Walker

Born in 1969 to an English father and German mother, Gunther grew up amidst two cultures and languages. He studied photography at school, but then followed a musical path and completed a degree in Commercial Music at the University of Westminster in 1998. He became a manager in the music industry, and has worked with bands, composers and record producers, ever since. Having completed extensive research into his German family history, the acquisition of his grandfather’s Leica has opened up a new and long forgotten creative path. More


The Adventures of a Leica

Gunther Walker