Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Life's iconic images


I was glancing through the astonishing archive of Life Magazine. Except National Geographic, perhaps no other magazine in the world has such a phenomenal collection of iconic pictures. During its peak, some of the world’s best photographers worked for it. Henri Cartier Bresson, Margaret Bourke White, Alfred Eisenstaedt to name just three. I once remember picking up an issue of Life with Jackie Kennedy's pictures from a road-side bookseller at Fort at some Rs 50. It was an absolute steal.

But, I was a bit stunned to look at Life magazine site. They have put everything on sale, which is good in a way for the readers, but it seems reduced to an online shop. I wish Life had continued being that classy magazine and carried on the good work though its inevitable. Photography itself has undergone such a change both technologically and stylistically.

I was looking at Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic picture Kissing the War Goodbye showing a US soldier kissing his partner passionately at Times Square to celebrate the end of World War II in 1945. What a picture!

Surfing on Life website is a great journey. One just comes across iconic images after images. Life takes you inside the homes of some of the biggest Hollywood icons. Another evergreen gallery is Classic Hollywood romances. Paul Newman’s first marriage was brief in characteristic Hollywood style, but the second with Joanne Woodward turned out be a Hollywood rarity for its longevity. These pictures tell the sweet story

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