Alfred Eisenstaedt

Alfred was an established photographer when he moved to the united Stares from Germany in 1935. In 1945 he once took a photograph of a sailor in his blue inform kissing a nurse in her white uniform in Times square that led to his fame. He managed to capture this moment by being persistent and not planning, this is how he stayed true to the moment, photographing a real life event.

‘That day in August of 1945, Eisenstaedt was simply walking among the crowd that had gathered on the streets of New York. One of the people he noticed was a sailor who was kissing his way through the crowd. He followed him long enough to see him grab the woman whose outfit in white brought the contrast of the sailor’s blue to his keen eye. At that moment, Eisenstaedt snapped the picture’.

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Eisenstaedt set up his first darkroom in his family’s bathroom. His first image that he sold was of a woman playing tennis that he captured when he was on vacation in Czechoslovakia in 1927. Der Weltspiegel a German bought it for $3, after someone bought his photography Eisenstaedt didn’t even know he could make money this way, so this encouraged him to keep taking photos further. When it came to 1936 Eisenstaedt was taking pictures of Hollywood celebrities but also ordinary people around him. The editor from a magazine called ‘Life’ who Eisenstaedt photographed for, once told Eisenstaedt ‘The most important thing is not to be in awe of anyone. Remember, you are a king in your own profession’. Eisenstaedt said that, ‘I never forgot those words.” His small stature and his personality served him well with his many subjects’. Here I see that Eistendaet had a lot of inspiration from certain people throughout his life, they encouraged him to find that great photographer within him, as at times he himself didn’t see it, mainly because he was 5t 4, a short man who not many people took seriously. However he continued photography various origins of people when he had his camera with him, walking through the crowds waiting for a moment to happen that he could capture. Which is exactly how he managed to be come well known for photography of the sailor and the woman, this happened by him just waiting, being patient until he felt ready to take the picture.

What I like about the work of Eisenstaedt is that he was always staying true to who he was and the work he wanted to produce. He had a lot of negative feedback at times because his style of photographing was never seen before at that time, he captured moments as they were happening, they were never planned, which got many people interested in his work as they connected with what they saw in his images, realism, how life should be, they felt the honesty and thought this is how we should photograph life.

Whilst Eisenstaedt was photographing people in the street, he also photographed some famous people at the time, which included Marilyn Monroe, the Kennedy family, Bob Hope, Bertrand Russell, Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt and many others. Even though he was photographing world leaders and movie stars, Eisenstaedt would make them look no more distant than someone’s next door neighbor, because he would capture their bad moments, moments when you shouldn’t take a photo, but Eisenstaedt did, making people see that all they are underneath fame, are ordinary people.


Alfred Eisenstaedt. Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. 20 Nov. 2014> Viewed 20/11/14

Website: Viewed 20/11/14


Documentary project development 1



  Tatto Studio

  Contact Sheets

The theme i chose for a project that i am working on at uni was Intimacy and documentary. I was influenced by photographers such as Henri Cartier Bresson, Garry Winogrand, Martha Cooper, Eugene Richards, Elliot Erwitt and Alfred Eisenstaedt. Their work intrigued me when i saw how they each photographed documentary in different ways. I took some of their ideas and incorporated it into my own shoots, showing an understanding of their work but also creating my own ideas about what i thought intimate documentary was.

Throughout the first half of my project i focused on photographing people in the city, working places, shops, pubs, bars etc. I wanted a series of my images to document their lives from far away and sometimes in close proximity. I produced contact sheets and final prints in black and white film.