“YOLO”

This famous photograph dubbed as “The Kiss” was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt on Victory over Japan Day on August 14, 1945. The photo reveals an American sailor ecstatically kissing a girl in a white dress in the middle of Time Square in New York City. Culturally the ideology of the time period was American pride, youthful exuberance, and revitalization. At the time the photograph was taken, American just ended the war against Japan and ended over a half century of global conflict. The scene essentially showed the American citizens letting loose and enjoying themselves for the first time since WWI ended. The photograph also displayed the social ideology of sexual interaction with total strangers. It displayed the true excitement everybody had that the war was over. Stories detailed that booze flowed for weeks after the war was over, which displays the free mentality of the citizens. The economy was thriving from veterans coming home, jobs were in full swing, and of course the baby boom exposed that the nights were not quiet. The economic ideology was almost a “You Only Live Once” mentality. Citizens were happy to be healthy and not having to listen to death tallies on the radio. Overall this photograph displayed the enthusiasm of the reinvigorated Americans, and showed that good times were ahead.

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2 comments

  1. I agree with Rob on his description of the photo “The Kiss”. I think the photographer does a great job really capturing the feeling of the country. Everyone was so tired of war that now it was over they could finally let loose. I think the black and white does better for the picture than color would because it looks classier, almost like a wedding photo. I also think the photographer does a great job really setting the couple in the center of the photo so your eyes directly go to them. It almost looks like he just dropped the two in the middle of this scene. I think that makes the picture look special. I also agree with Rob about the fact that the kiss came between two total strangers. I think that truly captures how the happy the whole country was to just be done with the war. The photo almost foreshadowed for what was to come with the “Baby Boom”. I also liked how the photographer set the image at eye level. It looks like we are standing right in front of the two kissing in the middle of Time Square. I also really like how he was able to capture a flag in the top right corner. It really just ties the whole picture together. The feeling of being together, unified, and rejuvenated after a long war.

  2. I completely agree with Rob’s response. My roommate has this picture hanging in our room and for the past three years I have seen it almost every day. Going deeper into what Rob was talking about, what I love about the photo is how genuine it is. One of the aspects that proves this is the body language of the woman. A staged kiss would not look as award. Although the top of her body looks nice, completely engulfed by the big strong military man, her legs are turned in weird ways showing how natural the photo was. What I find most interesting about this picture is how the message Rob picked up on stayed the same through time.; most of the time, images change meaning through time. The meaning of this photo however has managed to stay the same through many many years.

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