There are few images more iconic than the V-J Day in Times Square (also V-Day and The Kiss) photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt portraying a U.S. Navy sailor grabbing and kissing a stranger—a woman in a white dress—on “V-J Day” in New York City’s Time Square on August 14, 1945. The photograph was published a week later in LIFE magazine, among many photographs of celebrations around the United States that were presented in a twelve-page section titled “Victory Celebrations”. Kissing was a favorite pose encouraged by media photographers of service personnel during the war, but Eisenstaedt was photographing a spontaneous event that occurred in Times Square soon before the announcement of the end of the war was made by U.S. President Harry S. Truman at seven o’clock. Similar jubilation spread quickly with the news.
Because he was photographing rapidly changing events during the celebrations, Eisenstaedt did not have an opportunity to get the names and details. The photograph does not clearly show the face of either person involved, and numerous people have claimed to be the subjects. The photograph was shot just south of 45th Street looking north from a location where Broadway and Seventh Avenue converge. Soon afterward, throngs of people crowded into the square and it became a sea of people.