Marilyn Monroe, 1953


(1898 - 1995)

Alfred Eisenstadt began taking pictures at the age of 14 when he was given his first camera, an Eastman Kodak Folding Camera with roll film. In 1927 Eisenstaedt sold his first photograph and began his free-lance career for Pacific and Atlantic Photos Agency in Berlin, which was taken over by Associated Press in 1931. Eisenstaedt is best known for his candid black-and-white shots of celebrities, politicians, and captivating street shots. His most famous work remains the iconic VJ Day in Times Square (1945), an indelible image taken at the end of WWII of a sailor and nurse’s celebratory embrace.

“The reason for my success in photographing, people just say I don’t push people around. I treat people like I like to be treated, with gentleness,” the artist said.

In the early days of his career Eisenstaedt used cumbersome equipment with tripods and glass plate negatives, he produced many photos on assignment of musicians, writers, and royalty. One of his more famous photographs from the early 1930s reveals the opera house La Scala in Milan, Italy. By 1935 Eisenstaedt had acquired a Rolleiflex camera and immigrated to America. A year later he became one of the original staff photographers for Life Magazine. At that point he was considered one of the masters of the candid photograph.

Eisenstaedt had his first one-man exhibition in 1954 at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. 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.