A self-taught photographer, George Rodger (1908-1995) was born in England, and it was his pictures of the London Blitz that brought him to the attention of LIFE’S editors. He was on the magazine’s staff from 1939 to ’45 and traveled widely as a war correspondent—across the Sahara with the Free French and in such outposts as Eritrea, Iraq and Burma. Rodger was with the Allies on D-Day, then was the first photographer to enter the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He was trying to figure out how to photograph the dead and dying when “I suddenly thought, ‘My God, what’s happened to me? This is the end … all this absolute horror… [and me] thinking of nothing but lovely compositions.'” He had had enough of war, enough of violence. After becoming one of the founding fathers of the Magnum agency, this great adventurer spent many years taking pictures in Africa. Most notable was his brilliant work documenting the Nuba peoples of Sudan.
—Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers