The Kissing Sailor by Alfred Eisenstaedt

V-J Day in Times Square is a photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt that portrays an American sailor kissing a woman in a white dress on Victory over Japan Day(V-J Day) in Times Square, New York City, on August 14, 1945. The photograph was published a week later in Life magazine among many photographs of celebrations around the country.

The Kissing Sailor

The Kissing Sailor

The photograph is known under various titles, such as V-J Day in Times SquareV-Day, and The Kiss.

In two different books he wrote, Alfred Eisenstaedt gave two slightly different accounts of taking the photograph and of its nature.

From The Eye of Eisenstaedt:

I was walking through the crowds on V-J Day, looking for pictures. I noticed a sailor coming my way. He was grabbing every female he could find and kissing them all — young girls and old ladies alike. Then I noticed the nurse, standing in that enormous crowd. I focused on her, and just as I’d hoped, the sailor came along, grabbed the nurse, and bent down to kiss her. Now if this girl hadn’t been a nurse, if she’d been dressed dark clothes, I wouldn’t have had a picture. The contrast between her white dress and the sailor’s dark uniform gives the photograph its extra impact.

It became a cultural icon overnight and by establishing his copyright, Eisenstaedt carefully controlled the rights to it, only allowing a limited number of reproductions which determined how it could be used. Since his death in 1995, the rights to the photograph have passed to the Getty Museum as part of its Life archives.

More info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-J_Day_in_Times_Square