In 1931, as a gift on his first visit to Europe, Al Fenn (1912-1995) was given a Leica. By the time he returned to the States, his “heart now belonged to photography.” During Fenn’s 15 years at LIFE, his subjects were diverse, from baby birds to boxers. Fenn’s father was a physics professor and his mother an actress. “It seems quite logical.” he concluded, “that I should be a photographer, which is apparently the genetic result of the mixture of science and art.”

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

Mrs. Margaret Morse Nice lying flat in grass to study nest of baby field sparrows. (Photo by Al Fenn/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Mrs. Margaret Morse Nice lying flat in grass to study nest of baby field sparrows. (Photo by Al Fenn/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Underfed duck struggling in detergent, as part of an experiment that deficiency in an essential dietary component. (Photo by Al Fenn/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Underfed duck struggling in detergent, as part of an experiment that deficiency in an essential dietary component. (Photo by Al Fenn/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Boxer Rocky Marciano (seated R) signing a contract for a fight while Joe Louis (seated L) looks the other way. (Photo by Al Fenn/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Boxer Rocky Marciano (seated R) signing a contract for a fight while Joe Louis (seated L) looks the other way. (Photo by Al Fenn/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

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