Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Looking Back At The Great 'Life' Photographers

Looking Back At The Great 'Life' Photographers

©National Public Radio
by Claire O'Neill



LIFE really has an unfair advantage when it comes to curating art books. Because, at least in the photography category, they have one of the most extensive, impressive archives from which to cull. For decades the pages of Life were home to the best photographers; and it was just about every amateur photographer's aspiration to be in those pages.

Some of the photos you've seen: Like the sailor kissing the nurse on V-J Day in Times Square. Others you may not know, but can instantly appreciate: Kennedy and baby Caroline, Jackie Robinson rounding third base at the World Series, Picasso painting with light — and in a bathtub.

So add The Great Life Photographers to your list of holiday gift books. The paperback edition of the 2004 visual encyclopedia was released in October and contains 600 pages of Life's best photography. Daunted by the prospect of making an even smaller edit, I asked Barbara Baker Burrows, director of photography at Life books to pick some of her favorites. Her edit and commentary constitute this gallery. But you can see more Life classics on their website.


Alfred Eisenstaedt: Children at a puppet theater, Paris, 1963



Margaret Bourke-White: At the time of the Louisville Flood, 1936


Ralph Morse: Jackie Robinson rounding Third base during World series against the Yankees, 1955


See the slide show here.


Credit: From 'The Great Life Photographers'/Time Inc./Selected and with commentary by Barbara Baker Burrows, Director of Photography