Portrait of photographer Carly Mydans. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Portrait of photographer Carly Mydans. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Having started out as a newspaper reporter, Carl Mydans (1907-2004) switched over to the camera and at the height of the Depression worked for the Farm Security Administration, documenting the travails of migrant farm families. After signing on with LIFE, he and his wife, Shelley, became the magazine’s first roaming photographer-reporter team. In 1941 they were sent to China to cover Japanese bombing raids there; late in the year they were trapped in Manila when the Japanese overran the Philippines, and they were held captive for nearly two years before being repatriated in a POW exchange. When the prison camp was about to be liberated, Douglas MacArthur sent Mydans in with the first tanks. Of course, Mydans’s picture of MacArthur “returning” to the Philippines is one of history’s most celebrated photographic images. Mydans was known also for his intriguing portraits of such as Pound and Faulkner. In the words of David Hume Kennerly, “Carl Mydans is a photographer’s photographer and a human’s human.”

Two emaciated American civilians, Lee Rogers (L) and John C. Todd, sitting outside a Japanese prison camp following their release by Allied forces liberating the city. (Photo by Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Two emaciated American civilians, Lee Rogers (L) and John C. Todd, sitting outside a Japanese prison camp following their release by Allied forces liberating the city. (Photo by Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

In the prison camp at Santo Tomas in the Philippines, said Shelley Mydans, “they didn’t feed us, so we were very hungry, and we were sick sometimes.” Rogers and Todd, at right, were among the three dozen men with whom Carl shared a room at the prison. Between them, the duo lost 131 pounds during their four years of internment.

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

Communist prisoners stripped down to their underwear are marched to the rear by Marine guards. (Photo by Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Communist prisoners stripped down to their underwear are marched to the rear by Marine guards. (Photo by Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Allied officers and crew crowd the decks of US battleship Missouri. (Photo by Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Allied officers and crew crowd the decks of US battleship Missouri. (Photo by Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

American destroyer USS Vesole escorting the Russian freighter Polzunov into international waters. The freighter is loaded with nuclear missiles and related equipment bound for the Soviet Union after being removed from Cuban soil, bringing an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Photo by Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

American destroyer USS Vesole escorting the Russian freighter Polzunov into international waters. The freighter is loaded with nuclear missiles and related equipment bound for the Soviet Union after being removed from Cuban soil, bringing an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Photo by Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

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