LIFE photographer Bernard Hoffman. (Photo by Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

LIFE photographer Bernard Hoffman. (Photo by Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Carl Sandburg once described Bernard Hoffman (1913-1979) as “Camera historian .. . man of philosophy and whim.” The two met at a shoot at the poet’s house. Sandburg let his 15 goats inside so the creatures wouldn’t freeze, then entertained one and all with his guitar. “They listened politely,” Hoffman said of the goats. His official company biography reads: “When I began to work for Time Inc., Dad was so mortified by what I had done, that he promptly moved to a different neighborhood.” He is best remembered for his stark pictures of Japan just after the atomic blasts.

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

Farmer capping a peanut stack. (Photo by Bernard Hoffman/The LIFE Picture Collection via © Meredith Corporation)

Farmer capping a peanut stack. (Photo by Bernard Hoffman/The LIFE Picture Collection via © Meredith Corporation)

Merrill's Marauders (Photo by Bernard Hoffman/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Merrill’s Marauders (Photo by Bernard Hoffman/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Pan American Clipper passenger plane skimming the surface of water during take-off of 23-hour transatlantic flight to Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Bernard Hoffman/The LIFE Picture Collection via © Meredith Corporation)

Pan American Clipper passenger plane skimming the surface of water during take-off of 23-hour transatlantic flight to Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Bernard Hoffman/The LIFE Picture Collection via © Meredith Corporation)

Gutted trolley car amid Hiroshima ruins a few months after the dropping of the atomic bomb by the US, bringing a swift Japanese surrender and an end to WWII. (Photo by Bernard Hoffman/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Gutted trolley car amid Hiroshima ruins a few months after the dropping of the atomic bomb by the US, bringing a swift Japanese surrender and an end to WWII. (Photo by Bernard Hoffman/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

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