Alfred Eisenstaedt

Topics: Photography, George Eastman, Photojournalism Pages: 2 (608 words) Published: January 2, 2006
Called "the father of photojournalism," Eisenstaedt perfected certain techniques for capturing the spontaneous moment that has given us some of our most enduring photographic images. Born in 1898, Eisenstaedt was fascinated by photography from his youth and began taking pictures at the age of 14 when he was given his first camera, an Eastman Kodak Folding Camera with roll film. In 1927 Eisenstaedt sold his first photograph and at the time had no idea that professional photography even existed. Photojournalism was at its very infancy. "Photojournalism had just started," Eisenstaedt has remarked "and I knew very little about photography. It was an adventure, and I was always amazed when anything came out." Using cumbersome equipment with tripods and glass plate negatives, Eisenstaedt produced many photos on assignment of musicians, writers, and royalty. By 1935 Eisenstaedt had acquired a Rolleiflex camera and immigrated to America. A year later he became one of the original staff photographers for Life Magazine. By now, he was a master of the candid photograph. He used a 2 1/4" Rolleiflex "because you can hold a Rolleiflex without raising it to your eye; so they didn't see me taking the pictures." Eisenstaedt was speaking of the time he photographed American soldiers saying farewell to their wives and sweethearts in 1944 on assignment for Life. "I just kept motionless like a statue." he said. "They never saw me clicking away. For the kind of photography I do, one has to be very unobtrusive and to blend in with the crowd. The photographer, skilled professional that he was, "always behaved like an amateur with little equipment." And as a result we have some of the most spontaneous moments to enjoy as a perennial visual delight. Eisenstaedt had his first one-man exhibition in 1954 at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. He had many subsequent exhibits and was the recipient of numerous awards,...
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