If you head out into the world asking the most accomplished photographers which is the most famous brand, manufacturer of cameras, of all time, they’ll probably answer one word – Leica. The brand is also responsible for one of the most famous photos ever taken, ‘The Kiss in Times Square’, by Alfred Eisenstaedt. Well, the device that had shot the photo, a Leica III Rangefinder, is set to go up for auction on the 24th of May, in Vienna.
This bidding of the Leica reportedly starts at €12,000 and is supposed to fetch somewhere between $26,000 and $33,000 (€20,000 – €25,000). Part of WestLicht’s Photographia Auction, the buyer will also be gifted with a copy of ‘The Kiss in Times Square’ photograph. The photo was taken on the occasion of the end of the 2nd World War, as Germany was surrendering to its defeat.
It pictures a sailor kissing a nurse and got featured in Life magazine. It had never made it to the front page though. The author, Alfred Eisenstaedt, was reportedly spamming the shutter button during the respective day, trying to capture as many memories as possible. This one though has proven very special, as it has become a trivial concept over the years.
Yes, he may have been lucky, for both this photo and for that fact that he lived past the age of 96, but this is a very special shot. And the fact that it’s an instantaneous capture makes it even more valuable if you ask me. Alfred is also renowned, nevertheless, for having photographed many other charismatic and famous figures, for instance Bill Clinton in 1993. The camera has a huge role into this entire story, having been clicked for possibly millions of times along its 60-year plus history.
The package offered to the winning buyer also comprises a 50 mm f/2 Summitar lens and the original VIOOH viewfinder Alfred had used to shoot the photo. Keep in mind though, the technologies of those times didn’t include flash sync, light meters or motor drive, common features of today, so photographers needed to actually focus a lot in order to shoot anything like this.