For Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995), the thing that was always there, within him, prompting and pointing the way, was his undying curiosity, which was tethered to his photographer’s eye: “I see pictures all the time. I could stay for hours and watch a raindrop.” Eisenstaedt never lost his childlike interest in things and people, in what made them what they were. He would put his subjects at ease, then get up close and take a few pictures—he didn’t need roll after roll—then it was on to the next person, the next happening, tirelessly pursuing the heart of the matter that he saw so easily and wanted very much for us to see, too.
“There were thousands of people milling around, in side streets and everywhere. Everybody was kissing each other … And there was also a Navy man running, grabbing anybody, you know, kissing. I ran ahead of him because I had Leica cameras around my neck, focused from 10 feet to infinity. You only had to shoot… I didn’t even know what was going on, until he grabbed something in white. And I stood there, and they kissed. And I snapped five times.”
—Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers