Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Alfred Eisenstaedt was the longest serving photographer at LIFE Magazine, and photographed celebrities, politicians, historical figures, and events, regularly employing a candid, unposed technique. One of his most iconic and reproduced works is 'VJ Day, The Kiss' (1945), which captured a sailor embracing a nurse in New York’s Times Square, as they celebrated the end of World War II.

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Artist Biography

Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898–1995) was a German-born photographer. He studied at Berlin University between 1913-1916, and served in the army from 1916-1918. After World War I, Eisenstaedt made a living by working as a belt and button salesman in Berlin. A self-taught photographer, he was given his first camera at the age of 14. In 1927, he photographed for the Berliner Tageblatt and sold his first images to Der Weltspiegel, a publication for which he also worked on a freelance basis. In 1928, Eisenstaedt photographed Marlene Dietrich in Berlin while she was filming Der Blaue Engel.

Eisenstaedt came to the United States in 1935, where he freelanced for Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Town and Country, and various other publications. The following year Henry Luce hired him, along with Margaret Bourke-White, Peter Stackpole, and Thomas McAvoy as one of four staff photographers for the new LIFE magazine. Eisenstaedt remained at LIFE for the next 40 years, gracing the covers of 92 issues of the magazine. 

His photographs have been exhibited at many prestigious institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Philadelphia College of Art, and the International Center of Photography in New York.


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