Stunning Photos Show Life in New York City by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1930-1980

Alfred Eisenstaedt was a talented photographer and photojournalist. He was born to a Jewish family in West Prussia in 1898. From an early age, Eisenstaedt was captivated by photography. When he was 11, he used an Eastman Kodak Folding Camera to take photos. Then, he started working as a freelance photographer at Pacific and Atlantic Photo in Berlin, which greatly boosted his career. Throughout his career, Alfred acquired a great deal of experience as a photographer. Within a short period, he rose quickly through the ranks.

Eisenstaedt worked for Illustrierte Zeitung in the 1930s. It was one of the world’s biggest publishing companies at that time. He captured some of the most important historical events in his photographs, including the first meeting between Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. He is best known for his pictures from the V-J day celebrations in Times Square. Alfred Eisenstaedt used a Leica Illa to capture an American sailor kissing a woman on the street shortly after Japan surrendered, ending World War II. He captured most of his iconic photographs using different variations of the 35mm Leica Rangefinder camera, unlike other photographers and photojournalists of the time. He chose the small, portable camera instead of a big, bulky one.

Eisenstaedt captured more than 2500 assignments, including 86 cover spreads for LIFE. These LIFE covers featured John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, and Winston Churchill. Several renowned institutions own his photographs, such as the Royal Photographic Society (London), New York’s International Center of Photography, and Rochester’s George Eastman House. In addition, his photos have been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia College of Art, and the International Center of Photography. The photography of Alfred Eisenstaedt left a lasting impression on the industry. He left behind a trail of iconic photographs that have endured for generations.

#1 Ballerinas in a rehearsal room at George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, 1936.

#4 Ballerinas at George Balanchine’s American School of Ballet gathered around accompanist during rehearsal, 1936.

#5 Pilgrim State Hospital, Long Island, New York, 1936.

#9 Two women talking on the sidewalk of Fifth Avenue in midtown, New York, 1942.

#10 Window shopping outside of Bergdorf Goodman, Fifth Avenue, New York City, 1942.

#11 In front of the window display at Bergdorf Goodman, Fifth Avenue, New York City, 1942.

#12 Chic woman walking her poodles along sidewalk on Fifth Avenue, 1942.

#14 Couple in Penn Station saying goodbye before he ships off to war during WWII, New York, 1943.

#15 Soldier consoling his weeping girlfriend while saying goodbye in Pennsylvania Station before returning to duty after a brief furlough, New York, 1943.

#16 Fashion show in Jade Room of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, 1944.

#18 Elevated view of a trio of men in suits and straw boaters as they talk on a sidewalk, New York, 1958.

#20 Shoppers in the women’s coat dept. of Saks Fifth Ave. department store, 1960.

#21 Commuters at Grand Central Terminal, New York, 1961.

#25 TWA Terminal, Kennedy Airport, New York City, 1975.

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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