Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898—1995) was one of the earliest photographers to take advantage of the compact camera to capture candid moments of domesticity, industry, and recreation. He intrepidly documented historic events, and intimately portrayed both celebrities and ordinary people with an apparent sensitivity for their natural behaviors and demeanor. After immigrating from Germany, Eisenstaedt joined the first photographers of Life magazine in 1936 and continued working for the iconic publisher throughout his career, where he had over 2,500 assignments and more than 90 cover photos featured. Among many other accolades, Eisenstaedt was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1989.

His most famous photographs have become part of a collective cultural memory and form an archive of daily life in the 1930s and 40s. Drawing on the Museum’s large collection of works by the prolific photographer, this exhibition highlights a variety of works from Eisenstaedt’s career with Life as well as many unpublished pictures that showcase the artistry of “the father of photojournalism.”


Featured: Alfred Eisenstaedt, People on steps of New York Public Library, 1944. Gelatin silver print. Gift of Dr. John and Birgit Ford. 2007.243