Eisenstaedt on Eisenstaedt:
I hope everyone had a good weekend. It has been crazy hot here in New York City, and I’m not ashamed to say that I stayed home these few days in an air conditioned house just processing some photos lol. Today, I’m trying something a little different. One visitor to this site has kindly suggested that maybe in addition to reviews and photos, I might also talk about photography books, and I thought that it was a great idea. I always wanted to but I didn’t know if anyone would have been interested. So today, I’m bringing you all a book titled, “Eisenstaedt on Eisenstaedt”. The photos and text are by Alfred Eisenstaedt, and the introduction is written by Peter Adam.
Now before I start, I want to say that I am no book reviewer. This is just a photo blog, and I’m just writing what I think of the book or if I decide to do more of this in the future, what I will be thinking about various other books concerning photography. I will be giving you my honest opinion and feeling, and if you’re expecting a technical interpretation on X, Y, and Z, you’d probably be better looking elsewhere lol.
As many of you know, Alfred Eisenstaedt is the famous photographer often associated with the photo of the sailer kissing the nurse on V.J. Day taken in August 15th, 1945. It’s the photo on the cover of this book that has been seen by millions of people. Born in 1898, he later grew up to be known as “the father of photojournalism”. He worked for the Associated Press in Germany, and later in America for Life Magazine. On a more personal note, he is my favorite photographer, and the one professional photographer that really got my photographic juices going when I was younger.
Inside Eisenstaedt on Eisenstaedt:
I love Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photos, and in my opinion, this book definitely delivers the goods. There are so many photos ranging from Hitler’s Germany to Berlin in 1980. There is even a photo from 1913. His photos really help paint a picture of all this history, and I find myself quite frequently just staring at his beautiful creations for quite some time. I get completely mesmerized, and it’s because each photo really has a unique story, feel, and character to them.
If you are a photographer that loves to photograph people than you should definitely check out Eisenstaedt’s photographs. Eisenstaedt is famous for photographing people. Eisenstaedt does both posed and candids as well. Simply put, his photographs of people are awe inspiring. He always seems to get the right moment or as many put it, “the decisive moment”. He also offers tips in his texts to get better candids, such as, using a Rollei TLR when he was photographing troops saying goodbye to their loved ones in Grand Central Station. With the TLR, you don’t have to lift the camera up to view the image, which helped him stay even more inconspicuous. In this book, you will see photographs of random people on the street to famous celebrities, and politicians, such as, Marilyn Monroe and President John F. Kennedy.
Another thing that I really like about this book is that each photo is accompanied by often humorous, and lively text from Eisenstaedt himself telling the reader what was going on in his mind when he was taking the photograph. The text gives you a taste of Eisenstaedt’s lively energy, which is definitely conveyed in his photography. Each of his photos gives me a true sense of individuality. They don’t ever feel benign or generic like many photos of today can feel. As I said before, his photographs have character to them, and it makes me wonder why we need all this technology when his photographs from pre-digital days is just so amazing. “Eisenstaedt on Eisenstaedt” actually makes me wish I could meet the guy .
If you are a big fan of black and white photography, then Eisenstaedt’s black and white techniques are sure to impress. First off, all the photos in “Eisenstaedt on Eisenstaedt” are black and white. The tones of his photos, and the clarity are just spectacular. The black and white photos just have this organic feel to them. It makes me wonder if I should just sell my Leica M9, and purchase a Leica MP. I had this book for quite some time, and I only recently looked at it again. Looking at this again after so long, has really influenced me to want to try, and get that same feel for the photographs that I am taking now with my digital setups.
I urge anyone, even if you’re not a photography nut, to purchase this book. Everyone should have “Eisenstaedt on Eisenstaedt” in their photographic collection, especially since you can even get this used at Amazon for just a few dollars. Yes, the price ranges from $3.18 to a whopping $747.68 if you want a new copy. But again, Amazon has a lot of choices to choose from so you should check it out. This book is a must have!