George, the kisser, and his now wife, Rita, were on a date to the movies when they found out that the Japanese had surrendered. George, then 22, was a Navy quartermaster on leave from the Pacific. He apparently had seen a lot of action, he said, and was nervously waiting to go back. Leaving the theater, beaming, they went to a bar where George and Rita drank. They went to Times Square, and when George saw a women in a nurse’s outfit he remembered watching with awe as the nurses worked on the patients of war, so he kissed her. The woman he kissed was actually a dentist assistant, named Greta, and George said he was too drunk to even remember the kiss. Rita said she was never upset about it!
The photo was originally conceived as a magical fleeting kiss, showing the happiness of winning the war. Today, we know that the woman, Greta, did not actually like the kiss nor was she a nurse. The photo became an icon for how differently the story was viewed then versus what the actual truth behind it was.
This photograph brings your eyes straight to the kiss as the center of the photo. This is a moment that is stopped in time amongst several people moving in the background. The people in the photograph seem to see the kiss as well and take note of it. The sailor and nurse outfit help to create meaning for the photo- that it is of two people involved in war celebrating the fact that it is over.