Charles Steinheimer reading a copy of American Photography. (Photo by Iro Harper/The LIFE Images Collection)

Charles Steinheimer reading a copy of American Photography. (Photo by Iro Harper/The LIFE Images Collection)

During the Depression, a psychology degree, even from Stanford, was of little value, so Charles Steinheimer (1914-1996) and his friend Hart Preston went down to Mexico to take pictures. LIFE ran a long feature based on their work and immediately hired both of them. But, in the end, Steinheimer’s education paid off. “If you take good pictures of people, you take pictures of their involuntary musculature,” he explained. “My early psychology training ied me to investigate the voluntary and involuntary muscular structure of the body. It’s so apparent, if you look for it. Genuine emotions are expressed … I spot a posed picture every time.” Eventually he wearied of photography, believing his style revealed so much that it invaded his subjects’ privacy and, further, that all the traveling strained his personal relationships. Later, as an electronics engineer, Steinheimer helped develop the video camera.

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

At the Leipzig Industrial Fair in East Germany, envious kids peer into a car and shout "From America! Look!" (Photo by Charles Steinheimer/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

At the Leipzig Industrial Fair in East Germany, envious kids peer into a car and shout “From America! Look!” (Photo by Charles Steinheimer/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Children watching cartoons in a movie theater. (Photo by Charles Steinheimer/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Children watching cartoons in a movie theater. (Photo by Charles Steinheimer/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

More Like This

A camel caravan in front of the pyramids of Khefren and Cheops, also called the Great Pyramid. (Photo by Eliot Elisofon/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Eliot Elisofon

Students Steve Poster and Jessalyn Gray (fore C) talking at side of taxi while crowd of White Supremacists taunt them. (Photo by Joe Scherschel/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Joe Scherschel

Cleveland Browns Vince Costello (#50) wrapping a tackle around Green Bay Packers running back Jim Taylor. (Photo by Arthur Rickerby/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Arthur Rickerby

An elderly Chinese man ice skating. (Photo by Jack Wilkes/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Jack Wilkes

A tiger setting out at dusk for night of hunting in Kanha National Park, Central India(Photo by Stan Wayman/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Stan Wayman

State trooper holding burnt cap of a guard taken hostage during riot at Attica State prison. (Photo by John Shearer/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

John Shearer