"It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter." -Alfred Eisenstaedt
Alfred Eisenstaedt was an American but German born photographer born on December 6, 1898 in Tczew, Poland. Eisenstaedt died August 23, 1995 at the wise age of 96. He died of natural causes on vacation in Manhattan.
Eisenstaedt used photojournalism to convey stories and emotion, whether hateful or not, in no more than one photograph. He is known for taking the most influential photos of the 20th century. He also used candid photography to capture less important things like movie stars and artists.
"If I have a camera in my hand, I don't know fear." -Alfred Eisenstaedt
Joseph Goebllers, Hitler's Minister of Propaganda
Eisenstaedt used three different techniques to make sure every photograph he captured told a story, and told it well. His first tip was to always make a connection with your subject. Because Eisenstaedt had an easygoing personality, the subjects often favored him. His second tip was to stray far from fear; get personally close to your subject. Treat the celebrities like ordinary people. His last and final tip was to 'see the world with a childlike wonder'. His desire for photography combined with his supernumerary curiousity made him the great photographer he will always be remembered as.
"It was really a love at first sight. He became my shadow. But he never tried to interfere in my life. No, he just kept on shooting and smiling, and was happy just to be with me—like I was to be with him! I miss him. He couldn’t do any wrong to me. I trusted him so much. He’s one of those who doesn’t grow on trees”. -Sophia Loren, Life Magazine Interview
Eisenstaedt was a staff photographer for Life Magazine, and many of his photographs made the cover page of Life. He started photography with his photographs of pre- World War 2 in Germany before moving to America and started to publish his cover-stories. He's captured over 2,500 pictures and 90 of them have made the magazine cover page. The photo above is one of his most popular photos, taken when the soldiers returned home from WW2. The sailor kisses the nurse admits the celebration around them; a privledge returned to him after his hard battles at sea.
Eisenstaedt received his first camera (above) for his 14th birthday from his uncle, but he quickly lost interest in it. After he returned home from war at the age of 30, his interest in photography reignited when he took a picture of a woman playing tennis. After selling the photograph, he realized he could make money and support his family after the post war debt they had fallen into. When Eisenstaedt realized that he needed a new camera, he decided to buy another Leica camera, but a 35mm instead. Small, compact and 35mm camera were soon the only camera he used rather than the big, flashy cameras of other photographers. He preferred small camera so he could fit in easier and move with less trouble; also considering the fact that he was only five foot four.
"They don't take me too seriously with my little camera," he stated. "I don't come as a photographer. I come as a friend."
Eisenstaedt also preferred to shoot all his photographs in natural lighting since his small, compact camera did not come with flash.
Sophia Loren, LIFE Magazine
I choose Alfred Eisenstaedt as my photographer because unlike most early photographers, Eisenstaedt seemed to be the only less serious, outgoing, fun photographer. Throughout all the hardships in his life such as escaping the Holocaust, going to war at the tender age of 17, and almost losing his legs, he still remained fearless and amicable. I am sure he died a happy man, remembering all his life experiences and experiencing the joy of living a full, happy life.