Eisenstaedt, Alfred

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Eisenstaedt, Alfred

Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1898–1995, American photographer, b. Dirschau, Germany (now Tczew, Poland). Widely considered the father of photojournalism, he began creating photo essays in Berlin during the 1920s and early 1930s. He emigrated to the United States in 1935 and joined (1936) the original photography staff at Life magazine. Soon Eisenstaedt came to epitomize the magazine's style with his topically important and beautifully composed 35mm photographs and his candid portraits of the great and the anonymous. Working for Life until its 1972 demise as a weekly, Eisenstaedt traveled throughout the world, becoming internationally known for his photographic series (e.g., Japan [1945–46]); he continued working into the 1990s. Probably his most famous photograph is of the joyous Times Square kiss of a sailor and a nurse on V-J day. His many books include Witness to Our Time (1966), Photojournalism (1971), and Germany (1981).

See his autobiographical The Eye of Eisenstaedt (1969), Eisenstaedt on Eisenstaedt: A Self Portrait (1985), and Remembrances (1990).

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