Life photographer, Dmitri Kessel, standing by camera on a tripod, getting ready to shot a picture of himself through a reflection in a make-shift window. (Photo by Frank Scherschel/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Life photographer, Dmitri Kessel, standing by camera on a tripod, getting ready to shot a picture of himself through a reflection in a make-shift window. (Photo by Frank Scherschel/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

It has been said of Dmitri Kessel (1902-1995), “He is an international human being,” a telling reference to a man who lived well and long, in many places and with many interests. He grew up in comfort, on his father’s sugar-beet plantation in the Ukraine; as a boy he had a Brownie camera that he had gotten by trading a set of watercolor paints and brushes. But this tidy, idyllic life was swept away during the Bolshevik Revolution. Dmitri was drafted into the army at age 16, and that service doubtless informed his later photography of World War II. After escaping the Russian Revolution, he arrived in America in 1923 and began to concentrate on photography. His home base later became Paris, but he was a man who was at home only rarely. The world held too many attractions for this endlessly curious fellow, who was capable of shooting hard-hitting, eruptive news photos but also gorgeous architectural photography, notably of churches and cathedrals, along with stimulating photos of great artworks.

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

Shah of Iran, Mohamed Reza, posing with son Prince Reza and wife Farah wearing crown jewels and embroidered robes during coronation. (Photo by Dimitri Kessel/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Shah of Iran, Mohamed Reza, posing with son Prince Reza and wife Farah wearing crown jewels and embroidered robes during coronation. (Photo by Dimitri Kessel/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Closeup shots of migrant workers by the Yangtze river. (Photo by Dimitri Kessel/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Closeup shots of migrant workers by the Yangtze river. (Photo by Dimitri Kessel/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Lone house. (Photo by Dimitri Kessel/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Lone house. (Photo by Dimitri Kessel/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Fountains in the Piazza Navona at night. (Photo by Dimitri Kessel/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Fountains in the Piazza Navona at night. (Photo by Dimitri Kessel/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

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