Just south of 45th Street looking north from where Broadway and Seventh Ave. converge, Eisenstaedt snapped an image of an American sailor kissing a young woman in a white dress. A week later, it was published in Life, in a 12-page section called Victory. Though there were other poses of couples kissing, Eisenstaedt's image stood out and became an icon for a nation that finally was at peace.
Because Eisenstaedt was so busy taking pictures of the crowd that day, he didn't get the names or any details about the people in the famous picture. Their faces are not clear. Perhaps for this reason, many people have come forward through the years claiming to be the man and woman in the photograph.
Eisenstaedt, whose picture became a cultural icon overnight, copyright protected his image and carefully controlled the rights to it throughout his lifetime. Since his death in 1995, rights to the photograph have passed to the Getty Museum as part of their Life magazine archives.
Today, we would have thousands of pictures—both moving and still—of the same scene in Times Square. But we would most likely not remember a single one of them. Drowning in so much mediocre imagery, we are now blind to the single great icons that define our times.