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Alfred Eisenstaedt
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Photographer
    (December 6, 1898-August 24, 1995)
    Born in Dirschau, Germany (now Tczew, Poland)
    Photojournalist
    Staff photographer for 'Life' (1936-72)
    Best known photo shows a US sailor kissing a woman in a white dress in Times Square to celebrate V-J Day
    Received the National Medal of the Arts (1989)
    He was nicknamed 'Eisie.'
    For his second professional assignment, Associated Press sent him to cover the wedding of Tzar Boris III of Bulgaria and Princess Giovanna of Savoy. He got so caught up photographing the pageantry that he forgot to take a picture of the bride and groom. ('My editor was very perplexed. But he couldn't fire me because I was working free-lance.')
    While covering the first meeting of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, he was arrested when security police mistook the lens of his Leica camera for the muzzle of a revolver.
    He confused his color and b&w film rolls while photographing Marilyn Monroe, with the result that few of the color pictures met his standards.
    He said the favorite photo he took was one of a woman in a box seat at La Scala opera house; ironically, the magazine that commissioned the photo ('Die Dame,' a German fashion magazine) decided not to publish it.
    He was injured in both legs by shrapnel in World War I.
    He left Germany due to rising antisemetism (1935) and became a naturalized US citizen (1942).
    He was known for his patience in waiting for the right moment to take a photo.
    'Life' publisher Henry Luce said, 'Eisie showed that the camera could deal with an entire subject, whether the subject was a man or whether it was a social phenomena. That is what is meant by photojournalism.'
    A photo he took of Sophia Loren in a black negligee was so hot for its day that it prompted 3500 letters to 'Life' and 800 cancelled subscriptions.
    He said, 'It's more important to click with people than to click the shutter.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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