The picture of a nurse and a sailor kissing in the middle of Times Square while people around them were smiling just after the announcement that the war with Japan was over— seemed to be a picture of perfect timing. It turned out it was a husband and wife in the photo, only that the wife was not the nurse.
The iconic photo, officially titled “V-J Day in Times Square,” was taken on Aug. 4, 1945, by photographer and photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt. On that day, he was photographing spontaneous events as people celebrated the official announcement of the end of the war with Japan.
Here’s Alfred Eisenstaedt’s account on one of his two books entitled “V-J Day in Times Square“:
In Times Square on V.J. Day, 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. If she had been dressed in a dark dress, I would never have taken the picture. If the sailor had worn a white uniform, the same. I took exactly four pictures. It was done within a few seconds. Only one is right on account of the balance. In the others, the emphasis is wrong — the sailor on the left side is either too small or too tall. People tell me that when I am in heaven, they will remember this picture.