As much as it is important to focus on the quality of your pictures, it is equally important to feed your mind with information and images that will teach you something new or maybe show you something you’ve never seen before, as well as inspire you to keep your creativity crankin’. My professors were right, it is one of the key factors that will help you grow. I know that sometimes I get so consumed with taking my own pictures and editing them these days that I don’t always step back once in awhile to take a moment and delve into some art…someone else’s art. I used to do it all the time with my work in college, but now in the job world, it isn’t always a priority for me. I think if we keep ourselves from this, we can get stuck in a rut and become so satisfied with our own ways that we slowly become stagnant. Look at some art today. Photography, painting, dance, poetry, whatever. Sometimes even stepping away from your medium to a complete opposite can spur some ideas in you that you can use to give your work a refreshing new perspective. This is my late New Year’s resolution.
I’ve decided that I am going to try to highlight an artist in one of my blogs each month. An artist of today or from back in the day. Here goes…
(December 6, 1898 – August 24, 1995)
His motto: “It’s more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”
Alfred Eisenstaedt was born in Dirschau, West Prussia, and moved to Berlin when he got his first camera from his uncle at age 14. He built his portfolio as a freelance photographer and was sent to Italy in 1933 to capture the first meeting of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. He immigrated to the United States in 1935, where he was able to become a photographer for LIFE magazine in New York. He lived there the rest of his life.
Because of Valentine’s Day, we’ll start off with one of his well-known photographs:
V-J Day in Times Square – 1945. Eisenstaedt was following a sailor around who was grabbing every girl of every shape and size because he was thrilled WWII had ended. With the camera set at 1/125 second exposure, aperture between 5.6 and 8 on Kodak Super Double X film, the shutter rapidly clicked as the sailor planted a big one on a nurse in white who attracted Eisenstaedt. To this day, there is controversy as to who is actually present in the photograph… A handful of men claim they were in fact the one who kissed nurse Edith Shain that day.
He became the 20th century’s master of candid photography, and is also called “the father of photojournalism”.
One of my favorites:
Children watching the story of “Saint George and the Dragon,” at the puppet theater in the Tuileries, Paris – 1963
“It took a long time to get the angle I liked, but the best picture is the one I took at the climax of the action. It carries all the excitement of the children screaming, ‘The dragon is slain!’ Very often this sort of thing is only a momentary vision, my brain does not register, only my eyes and finger react. Click.” – Alfred Eisenstaedt
Please, check out more of his work. There are many many more great slivers of time Alfred Eisenstaedt has paused by a push of a button for all the world to see. I wish I could show you more, but I must go back to editing…. See, that wasn’t so time consuming, was it?