Famous Posters And The Story Behind Them

Famous Posters And The Story Behind Them

Posters… people have been using them for centuries for different purposes, sometimes to promote different events, other times to let people in the wild, wild west how a wrong-doer looks like. We put together a collection of extremely popular posters such as the famous picture of Einstein sticking his tongue out, or the curious poster of the tennis girl, and also the famous kiss on V-J day in Times Square. Have you ever wondered what the story behind them was? Did you know that before president Obama adopted “We Can Do It” as a campaign slogan, this saying was actually the motto for the womens equality in rights movement? All that and many more fun facts about famous posters right here. Enjoy the reading!

1. Albert Einstein – tongut out

What’s the secret behind the picture of Einstein sticking his tongue out? Well this famous picture was taken on Mrch 14th, 1951 by Arthur Sasse. After a birthday gala at Princeton in honor of Albert Einstein’s 72nd birthday, Sasse and many other “paparazzi” of that time were trying to get a picture with the smile of the smartest man alive but Einstein was so exhausted that he told the photographers to stop, when that didn’t stop them, he stuck his tongue out and the rest is history.
The funny part is that mister Einstein liked the photo so much that he cut it so that only his face was visible and made a lot of copied to send his friends as a greeting card.

2. Farrah Fawcett in the famous red swimsuit

The foxy “Charlie’s Angels” star has a poster we all know and love. It’s the one with her in a red swimsuit. This picture was taken long before she signed-up for “Charie’s Angels” series, but she had appeared in some TV commercials. The agents wanted to see pictures of her in a bathing suit so they sent Bruce McBroom, a freelance photographer to get the pictures of Fawcett.
The setting was her back yard pool, Farrah made her own hair, she highlighted her blond curls with lemon juice and tried on quite a few bathing suits before choosing this red one that hid an old belly scare.
Out of the 40 film rolls taken at this photo shoot, Farrah chose only 6 pictures then she and her agent choose this winner picture that was sold in over 12 million copies all around the world.

3. Lunch atop a Skyscraper

We know what you’re thinking, this picture can’t be true, it’s gotta be phtoshoped… well it’s not. This is an actual picture taken on 29th of September 1932 of 11 construction workers having their lunch break 69 stories high on the RCA building in New York, currently, the General Electrics building. All of the men from the photo were identified, for instance, the first man on the left and the first on the right were Irish immigrants in pursue of the American dream.
Due to copyright issues, the person who took this picture had remained anonymous until a few years ago when his identity was revealed: Charles C. Ebbets took this picture and another just as frightening of a part of these men sleeping on the grid.

4.”We can do it!”

Nope, president Obama didn’t say it first it’s actually a famous poster dating back to World War II. The name of the poster girl is Rosie the Riveter and this sketch was a cultural icon in the United States which represented the working women who had to take their husbands’ place in manufacturing plants because the men went to war.
The author of the post, graphic artist J. Howard Miller made the drawing based on the woman in picture below, Geraldinei Doyle.

Ironically, Geraldine quit the job a few day after a few days because she was afraid she might harm herself and wouldn’t be able to play the cello. The funny thing about it is that she didn’t even know she was the inspiration for the poster till 1984 when she read this in an article.

5. “Lord Kitchener Wants You”

This recruitment poster appeared for the fist time on September 5th, 1914 on the cover of London Opinion. That month, England had the highest number of volunteer enrollments.
Kitchener put together the biggest army of volunteers that fought against the German army. Sadly, Kitchener was killed when his ship was sunk by a German mine on the way to the negotiations. This poster was the inspiration for the American poster “Uncle Sam wants You!”

6. The Tennis Girl

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This poster has a simple title, and the picture was taken in 1976 by Martin Elliot. The model is his girlfriend of the time, 18-year-old art major, Fiona Butler. She didn’t play tennis regularly so she had to borrow the dress from a friend. Martin Elliot persuaded her to let him photograph her nude posterior as she lifted her skirt up.
Elliott sold the rights to the image but kept the author copyright and made quite a lot of money, Fiona, on the other hand, didn’t see any penny of it.

Fun fact: Fiona repeatedly refused to pose again, until 30 years later when she posed for a vernissage at Barber Art school. Fiona said she doesn’t regret posing, nor not receiving and part of the money.

7. Che Guevarra

Now you have to know this famous poster… it’s better known under the name Guerrillero Heroico and was taken on the 5th of March, 1960 by Alberto Korda. He took the picture when shortly and unexpectedly showed up on stage while Fidel Castro was giving a speech about the victims of the La Coubre blast. It’s been evaluated as one of the top ten most representative pictures, along with Mona Lisa and other interesting figures.

8. V-J Day in Times Square

This famous picture was taken on August 5th, 1945 by Alfred Eisenstaedt and was published one week later in Life Magazine. The picture shows a spontaneous event in Times Square in the moment that it was officially announced that Japan and Te United States had ceased war. The photographer was taking pictures of the festivities and did not have a chance to take the names of the two kissing.
Due to the fact that the faces of the two kissers were covered, many have claimed to be in the picture, but the true identity of the nurse remained unknown till 1970 when Edith Shain wrote to Eisenstaedt to tell him that she’s the woman in the picture and that the reason she didn’t come forward till then was that she considered that public kissing was shameful in that age and she could not confirm her identity. She said that even if she didn’t know the sailor, she let him kiss her cause he had been fighting the war for her as well as every other American
The identity of the sailor still remains unknown to this day, but out of all the wannabes, Glenn McDuffie seems to be the most likely “suspect”. He was only 18 at the time and he described the kiss as a very memorable moment in his life.
Many of you don’t know that this famous kiss was also photographed from another angle by Victor Jorgensen who named the photo: “Kissing War Goodbye”. You can see that photo below.
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Written with love and coolness by on July 14, 2011 in Interesting Things
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