Reading: Through the Lens of Alfred Eisenstaedt

bday 12-6 alfred eisenstaedt sophia loren reading in a role by candlelight

Sophia Loren, reading in a role | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

Alfred Eisenstaedt, was a brilliant photographer who captured some of the most iconic images in history.  All of his work had a distinct ‘in-the-moment’ sensibility that made his photos unforgettable.

Eisenstaedt, fleeing Nazi Germany in 1935, emigrated to America and took a job as a staff photographer for LIFE magazine. His work touched the hearts and mind of readers and over the years his arresting photos graced 90 LIFE covers.

His ability to see and photograph layered candid images made his work memorable for generations. Reviewing his photography, it also emerges that he loved to photograph his subjects reading.

Perhaps it was the sense of retreat from the world that a reader’s profile offers. Maybe his subjects were devoted bookworms. Whatever the inspiration, Eisenstaedt’s lens was drawn to these interludes. Some of my favorites are collected below.

His shutter opened and closed, giving these passing moments powerful permanence. Reading is beautiful.

bday 12-6 Alfred Eisenstadt ATO Reading Sewanee

ATO Fraternity Members Reading at Sewanee | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Elderly Matron Reading | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

bday 12-6 Alfred Eisenstaedt, author, Hoffman Reynolds Hays, reading book among shelves in American History Room in New York Public Library, 1944

Author Hoffman Reynolds Hays Reading Among Shelving | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt


12-year-old Boy Sitting in a Barber Chair | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Actor Charles Laughton Reading Aloud | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Actress Dorothy McGuire Reading a Script in Bed at Home | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Actress Mia Farrow Reading to Children | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Farmer’s Daughter Delphaline Reading a Book | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Author W. Somerset Maugham Reading | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Rabbi Reading the Talmud | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

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High School Girl Reading at Newburyport Free Library | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Marilyn Monroe Reading | Photo By Alfred Eisenstaedt

bday 12=6 Alfred eisenstaedt Publicity man Russell Birdwell reading Los Angeles Times on beach front between Malibu & Santa Monica

Publicity Man Russell Birdwell Reading Los Angeles Times | photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

bday 12-6 alfred eisensteadt reading by log cabin

Photo by Alfred Eisenstadt