Thursday, January 17, 2008

V-J day in Times Square

Perhaps one of the most famous photographs from the 1940's is this image, originally published in Life magazine, and captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt, a German American photographer and photojournalist. He is known for his candid photographs, frequently made using a 35mm Leica M3 rangefinder camera. In 1945, he snapped this image of a sailor kissing a nurse on V-J day in Times Square. Due to the chaos of this happy, celebratory moment, he was unable to get names and details of his subjects.

In 1980, Life magazine reported that 11 men and 3 women had come forward to be the kissers, although I'm not convinced the real identities of these individuals will ever be known for certain. Perhaps it's for the best. The image evokes a celebration of the times and is a representation of Americans. The faces in the photograph are hidden and could be anyone; maybe that's the point. In some ways, the power of this image would be lost if one were to know the true identities of the individuals.


No comments: