EYE’EM uncovering the legends of point & shoot.
Decades have past since the pioneers of street photography have taken their first shots. Magicians such as Henry Cartier-Bresson, Helen Levitt, Walker Evans, Paul Strand, Lee Friedlander and many more, have elated innumerable amounts of people and their work still serves as inspiration for modern photographers. These point & shoot masters are legendary to EYE’EM, because they were able to capture the daily street choreography with their cameras at hand, only using their vision and sense of composition. It did not matter whether two dancing children were snapped by Leica or Pentax, but it was the composition, the light and the content of the photo that was relevant. EYE’EM featuring the third artist of our series ‘point & shoot legends’: Alfred Eisenstaedt
Alfred Eisenstaedt ( 1898 – 1995)
Alfred Eisenstaedt the German-Jewish American “father of photojournalism” started to capture his first daily moments with the age of 14. His first camera an Eastman Kodak Folding Camera with roll film served as the starter-kid of Eisenstaedt’s career as a photojournalist. Growing up in a time where photojournalism was at its very infancy, Alfred did not have any experience in the field except his incredibly talented eye. “I knew very little about photography. It was an adventure, and I was always amazed when anything came out.” After selling his very first photograph in 1927, without even realizing that photography was becoming a profession in itself, Eisenstaedt came to be a freelancer at the Pacific and Atlantic Photos’ Berlin office in 1928, later known as the Associated Press. While he used bulky equipment that is in no way comparable to nowadays professional luxury tools, he mainly started off shooting on assignments by musicians, actors and writers. Because of increasing oppression in Nazi Germany, Alfred Eisenstaedt emigrated to the United States and became one of the first photojournalists for Life Magazine for which he shot approximately 90 Celebrity Covers.
One of the most famous photographs by Eisenstaedt was capture in the 1945 VJ Day on Times Square “I saw a sailor running along the street grabbing any and every girl in sight. Whether she was a grandmother, stout, thin, old, didn’t make any difference. I was running ahead of him with my Leica looking back over my shoulder…Then suddenly, in a flash, I saw something white being grabbed. I turned around and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse.” For him this picture was one of the most monumental ones, most notably because “People tell me that when I am in heaven they will remember this picture”. WE DO!
For EYE’EM Alfred Eisenstaedt is clearly a point & shoot legend, who has always maintained his own “keep it simple” style that made his photographs so diplomatic and human.
Please do yourself a big favor and check out his work!
Youtube (Documentary, part I)
Youtube (Documentary, part II)