Famed Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt's classic images are an indelible part of history. His iconic portraits of the biggest figures of the 20th century -- including Adolf Hitler, Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe and Winston Churchill -- along with his beautiful, poignant images of daily life made him one of the most published photojournalists in the world. He was the quintessential Life photographer with the unfailing ability to capture the defining moment.
Now 50 of the legendary photographer's photos are available through the Monroe Gallery of Photography in Santa Fe, New Mexico through June 26, 2016.
The German-born photographer is perhaps best known for his iconic photo called "The Kiss" of a jubilant sailor kissing a nurse in New York City's Times Square celebrating VJ-Day on August 14, 1945, published on the cover of Life. His career spanned more than 50 years and truly defined photojournalism in the hey day of large format picture magazines such as Life and Look.
Here, Vice President-elect Lyndon B. Johnson chats with President-elect John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline at the President's Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C., 1961.
By CBSNews.com Senior Photo Editor Radhika Chalasani
Ballet dancer - 1st lesson
Ballet teacher advising little little girls in their first lesson at ballet dancing school in Berlin.
Eisenstaedt had an eye for the famous and the ordinary. His captured "ordinary" moments were touching and often times humorous. Despite beginning his career in the turbulent time of the Great Depression and World War II, he had a natural ability to focus on life's sweeter moments.
Famed scientist Albert Einstein in his study at home in Princeton, New Jersey, 1949.
Like Einstein, Eisenstaedt was an immigrant. He was born in Dirschau, Prussia (now Tcaew, Poland) in 1889. Eisenstaedt and his family then made their home in Berlin in 1906. He joined the German Army during World War I, suffering wounds to both legs.
It was in the 1920s that he began working as a photographer on the side, while employed as a button and belt salesman. He photographed for the Associated Press and German publications.
After covering the rise of Hitler to power, Eisenstaedt moved to the U.S. In 1936, he became one of the four original photographers for the new picture magazine Life in New York City along with Margaret Bourke-White, Thomas McAvoy and Peter Stackpole.
Ice skating waiter
Ice skating waiter, St. Moritz, 1932.
The ice skating waiters of the Grand Hotel were a popular attraction.
Hitler & Mussolini
First Meeting of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, in Venice, Italy, June 13, 1934.
After covering the rise of Hitler to power, Eisenstaedt moved to the U.S. eventually becoming an American citizen. In 1936, he became one of the four original photographers for the new picture magazine Life in New York City along with Margaret Bourke-White, Thomas McAvoy and Peter Stackpole.
"Ode to Joy"
Uniformed drum major for the University of Michigan marching band practicing his high-kicking prance as he leads a line of seven admiring children, who are all trying to imitate his flamboyant technique while marching across the campus lawn, 1951.
The "Drum Major" described by David Friend, the one-time director of photography for Life, as Eisenstaedt's "ode to joy," was one of his most popular and recognized images.
According to Time magazine, when former president Bill Clinton was offered any Eisenstaedt print as thanks for a sitting he and his wife and daughter granted the then-94-year-old photographer on Martha's Vineyard in 1993, the president reportedly chose this one.
Winston Churchill flashing the victory sign in Liverpool, England, 1951.
Called "Eisie" by his friends, the master photographer shot more than 2,500 photo stories for Life. His images appeared on 90 of the publication's covers. He was on staff at Life from 1936 to 1972.
Balanchine's School of American Ballet
Ballerinas standing on a window sill in a rehearsal room at George Balanchine's School of American Ballet.
Eisenstaedt's favorite camera was the discreet 35-mm Leica. He adopted the small format though at the start of his career most press photographers of the era were still working with cumbersome large 4x5 cameras.
Mother and child in Hiroshima, four months after the atomic bomb dropped.
V-J Day - The Kiss
A jubilant American sailor clutches a white-uniformed nurse in a back-bending, passionate kiss as he vents his joy while thousands jam the Times Square area in New York City to celebrate the long awaited victory over Japan, VJ-Day, August 14, 1945.
The photo was published on the cover of Life. In one single image, the photographer captured all the emotion Americans felt with the end of World War II. Time magazine called this photo one of the 10 greatest images in the history of photojournalism.
Because of the hectic scene, the photographer never got the names of the sailor and nurse and today a debate still rages over their identities, with many claiming to be the duo.
For more: Astronomers analyze "The Kiss"
Boy selling Coca Cola from roadside stand, Atlanta, 1936.
Parisian in the Buttes Chaumont park carrying her pet dog "Fifi" in leather bag, Paris, c. 1963.
Two men lying on the floor, constructing a railroad at the Toy Train Society, Berlin, 1931.
Eisenstaedt: "Very often this sort of thing is only a momentary vision, my brain does not register, only my eyes and finger react. Click."
Portrait of actress Marilyn Monroe on the patio of her home in Hollywood, 1953.
Venetian gondolier navigating canal, Venice, 1947.
Counting pearls in the Mikimoto Cultured Pearl Factory, Japan, 1946.
John F. Kennedy
President John F. Kennedy, a prodigious reader, perusing six newspapers in the White House Oval Office, 1960.
Author Ernest Hemingway walking in Cojimar Harbor, Cuba, 1952.
Wide range of facial expressions on children at a puppet show - The moment the dragon is slain, Guignol puppet show, Parc de Montsouris, Paris, 1963.
Actress Marlene Dietrich wearing tuxedo, top hat & holding a cigarette at the 1929 Foreign Press Ball, Hotel Adlon, Berlin.
Opera-goers luxuriating in ornately elegant boxes during intermission at La Scala Opera House in Milan, Italy, 1933.
Children of fishermen at drawing lesson in Volendam, Netherlands, 1932.
In addition to so many of his photographs gracing the pages of Life, Eisenstaedt published several books. Those include, "Witness to Our Time" (1966) and "The Eye of Eisenstaedt" (1969), "People" (1973) and "Eisenstaedt: Germany" (1981). Among the many honors he accumulated during his career was the National Medal of Arts in 1989 and the Infinity Master of Photography Award from the International Center of Photography.
Alfred Eisenstaedt continued to photograph till his death at the age of 96 on August 25, 1995.
For more images and print sales: Monroe Gallery of Photography