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Camera used to take Times Square Kiss goes up for auction

Camera used to take Times Square Kiss goes up for auction
Camera used to take Times Square Kiss goes up for auction



German-made camera used to take iconic Times Square kiss picture at the end of World War Two goes up for auction

Alfred Eisenstaedt used Leica IIIa rangefinder to capture famous image
Camera which took picture heralding Allied victory was made in Germany
Jewish photographer had been forced to flee his homeland due to NazisThe camera that took one of the most iconic pictures of the 20th century is going up for auction.

The Leica IIIa rangefinder which Alfred Eisenstaedt used to photograph a sailor kissing a mystery nurse to celebrate Japan's surrender at the end of the Second World War is expected to fetch more than £20,000.

Ironically, the device which captured the jubilation of the Allied victory was made in Germany a decade earlier.

Iconic: Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt's image of an impulsive sailor kissing a woman he did not know in New York's Times Square to celebrate Japan's surrender in 1945, became one of the most iconic of the 20th century. The Leica IIIa rangefinder he used is now up for sale
For sale: This Leica IIIa rangefinder owned by Alfred Eisenstaedt is going up for auction in Austria next month

Snapper: Jewish photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt with the Leica hanging from his neck


Mr Eisenstaedt, a German-born Jew who was forced to leave his homeland when the Nazis came to power, was in New York's Times Square on August 14, 1945, when Japan's surrender was announced.

An impulsive sailor in the square was kissing every passing women in celebration, and when he was locked in a passionate clinch with a young nurse, the photographer snapped the image which would become a world-famous symbol of the festivities.

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The identity of the two people in the photograph is not entirely clear, but they are widely believed to be George Mendonsa and Greta Friedman.
In 1979, Edith Shain wrote to Mr Eisentstaedt claiming she was the woman who was kissed, but experts later claimed she was too short to be the person depicted.

However, when Life magazine asked the subjects of the photograph to step forward, a total of three women and 11 men claimed to be the kissers.
Close-up: The 1930s camera used for the iconic shot in 1945 boasts a Summitar 2/5cm lens

Popular: The Leica was widely used during the Second World War - but mostly by the Nazis
Original: The camera, with a VIOOH viewfinder, is expected to fetch more than £20,000 at auction



An examination of the sailor's scars and tattoos soon suggested that Mr Mendonsa was the man, and he identified Ms Friedman - who was a dental hygienist - as the woman.
The sailor was at the cinema with a date when news came of the Japanese surrender, and he says he kissed the woman because he considered her uniform showed she was part of the war effort.


Ms Friedman played down the significance of the kiss in later years, saying: 'It wasn't that much of a kiss. It was more of a jubilant act that he didn't have to go back [to fight in the Pacific].'Mr Mendonsa's date, Rita Petry, would later become his wife - she has since said she did not mind the passionate embrace, which took place right in front of her, but added: 'In all these years, George has never kissed me like that.'
She also payed tribute to the upbeat atmosphere in Times Square on VJ Day: 'All throughout the day and the evening, people were there. It was like New Year's Eve, only better!'
And she had no idea she was being photographed when the stranger grabbed her - she was just anxious to get back to her job at the dentist's.

The Leica which Mr Eisenstaedt took with him to Times Square is going under the hammer in Austria next month, along with a signed copy of the photograph itself.

The two items will feature in the WestLicht Photographica Auction in Vienna on May 24 and 25.
Beloved: Mr Eisenstaedt used the camera until his death in 1995, and once dented it by dropping it

Taking part: The photographer himself also stole a kiss from a woman in Times Square in 1945

Signature: The back of the famous image is signed by Mr Eisenstaedt and stamped with copyright marks
Couple: George Mendonsa, the sailor from the photograph, with his wife Rita Petry last year



Mr Eisenstaedt used the Leica IIIa up until the day he died aged 96 on August 24, 1995.

It has a Summitar 2/5cm lens, and comes with its original VIOOH viewfinder.
The only defect is a small dent on the underside of the camera, which resulted from the photographer dropping it which carrying out an assignment.
The IIIa was manufactured between 1935 and 1940, and was a successor to the groundbreaking Leica I, one of the first popular modern-style cameras for personal use.

The photograph, a 17.5x12in print bearing Mr Eisenstaedt's signature on the back, is expected to sell for more than £15,000 at the auction.
German firm Leica, founded in 1913, distributed thousands of cameras during the Second World War - but nearly all of them went to the Nazi side.

The company even made a 'Luftwaffe' model for the German air force, though it redeemed itself at the same time by helping Jewish employees flee the country.
Mr Eisenstaedt bought the camera when he was living in Germany, before emigrating to the U.S. at the age of 26 in 1935 as the Nazi government became increasingly oppressive towards the Jews.

Before his departure, he photographed senior Nazis including Adolf Hitler, whom he snapped during a meeting with Benito Mussolini, and Joseph Goebbels, who is scowling in his photograph - apparently because he had just discovered that Mr Eisenstaedt was Jewish.

After settling in the Jackson Heights neighbourhood of Queens in New York City, he became a staff photographer for Life.

Mr Eisenstaedt's work appeared on 90 covers of the magazine, showcasing stars such as Sophia Loren and Ernest Hemingway.

He was awarded the National Medal of Arts by George H.W. Bush at a White House ceremony in 1989, and in his old age took a series of intimate photographs of the Clinton family on holiday.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ ... .html#ixzz2RItigKMS
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