Earlier this week, Edith Shain—the nurse in the iconic V-J Day kiss photo—died at age 91, never really knowing who the sailor she created the moment with was. However, LIFE magazine now takes a look back at the man who photographed the two.
Alfred Eisenstaedt was one of their prolific photographers, covering "everything from post-war Hiroshima, to Ernest Hemingway in Cuba, to Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels—who famously scowled when he learned that the elegant young man taking his picture was Jewish." Eisenstaedt recalled the Times Square image fondly, writing in his book:
"I saw a sailor running along the street grabbing any and every girl in sight. Whether she was a grandmother, stout, thin, old, didn't make a difference. I was running ahead of him with my Leica looking back over my shoulder but none of the pictures that were possible pleased me.
Then suddenly, in a flash, I saw something white being grabbed. I turned around and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse... It was done within a few seconds."
It wasn't until the 1970s that Eisenstaedt received this letter from Shain explaining she was the nurse in the photograph (which, by the way, first appeared way back on page 27 of the magazine amongst many others).