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Alfred Eisenstaedt

(1898 - 1995)


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Alfred Eisenstaedt was a Jewish photographer.

Eisie, as he was known to his friends, was born in Dirschau, West Prussia, now part of Poland. At age 29 he first picked up a camera in earnest. He took more than a million photographs in his lifetime. Fascinated by the long shadows cast by the afternoon sun, he shot what was to be his first published picture - a woman playing tennis - for which he received 12 marks — about $3.00.

Among the first to use a 35mm camera, Eisenstaedt took candid photographs with available light and helped to define the art of photojournalism. His pictures let people and events speak for themselves. His job was to find and catch the storytelling moment.

Eisie, known as the “Father of Photojournalism,” emigrated to the U.S. in 1935 and became one of the four original photographers at LIFE, where he produced more than 2,500 assignments and 92 covers. He was, as the title to one of his 13 books states, A Witness To Our Time. Eisie photographed more of the world's famous faces and had more photographs published than any other photographer in history.

Since 1999, the Alfred Eisenstaedt Awards for Magazine Photography have been administered by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

“It’s more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”


Sources: American Jewish Historical Society Newsletter Fall/Winter 2003; Wikipedia

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