Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Albert Einstein

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Dr. Einstein was not fond of photographers; he called them Lichtaffen, or light monkeys. Yet, he had a soft spot for Phillippe Halsman. Einstein had personally included the photographer on a list of German artists and scientists getting emergency U.S. visas to evade Nazi capture. 

While he was not taking the jumping pictures of the celebrities for his hobby, Halsman was making his name as a photographer who took introspective and dissecting photos. Halsman recalled that Einstein ruminated painfully in his study on the legacy of E=mc2 during their photo session and talked about an atomic war, an arms race. Einstein spoke to Halsman of his despair over how his special theory of relativity and letter to Roosevelt led to the creation of the atomic bomb. “So you don’t believe that there will ever be peace?” Halsman asked as he released the shutter. Einstein’s eyes, Halsman said, “had a look of immense sadness…a question and a reproach in them.” He answered, “No. As long as there will be man, there will be war.”

TIME magazine used the picture on the cover when they chose Einstein as ‘the Person of the Century’. 

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

May 23, 2009 at 5:19 am

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  1. […] was ready for the decisive moment where the light was right. Albert Einstein didn’t call us “light monkeys” for no […]

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