Jewish Artist: Alfred Eisenstaedt, a Pioneer of Photographic Reporting

Alfred Eisenstaedt is an American photojournalist, born on December 6, 1898 in West Prussia. He died on August 23, 1995 in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, where he emigrated when he was targeted as a Jew by the Nazis.

He was passionate about photography and made it his profession in 1929 and became part of the dynamic German photojournalism. In the 1920s and at the beginning of the 1990s, he was greatly influenced by Erich Salomon, one of the initiators of documentary photography.

During the early 1930s, his photographs were published in many European magazines. He covered the rise of Adolf Hitler and, in 1935, produced a series of photographs of Ethiopia just before it was invaded by Italy. In the same year he emigrated to the United States and soon became a pioneer of journalistic reporting and one of the first four photographers in “Life”, where he became the star with 90 covers and 2,500 reports.

He photographed politicians, the Gotha and movie stars as well as street people captured in their daily lives (see his book “People”). He has always known how to capture the “right” moment, which is his strength. He was able to evoke the implicit meaning of a story, as he reminded us in his autobiography “The Eye of Eisenstaedt”.

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