The Leica III rangefinder camera used by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995) to capture his most famous image, Kiss in Times Square, is to auction in Vienna on May 24.
Estimated to be worth $23,500-32,780, the vintage Leica is to auction as part of WestLicht's Photographia Auction, alongside a signed print of Kiss in Times Square.
The photograph, which features a sailor kissing a nurse as part of V-J day celebrations in New York's Times Square, first appeared in Life magazine in August 1945. Contrary to popular opinion, the image did not star on the cover of Life, but was part of a multi-page spread inside the magazine.
Since Eisenstaedt was rapidly photographing the ever-changing events in Times Square, he did not have the opportunity to get the names and details of the passion-stricken pair, who have come to be synonymous with the end of the second world war.
The photographer reports in his book, 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.
"Now if this girl hadn't been a nurse, if she'd been dressed in dark clothes, I wouldn't have had a picture. The contrast between her white dress and the soldier's dark uniform gives the photograph its extra impact."
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Images: WestLicht Photographica Auction & Wikipedia