This native of Edinburgh, Scotland, got his first camera at the age of eight, a box Brownie. After graduation, Ian Smith (c. 1921-c. 1987) was teaching languages and history for a couple of years when he decided to take courses in photography. In 1944 he worked as a still photographer for the classic British film A Canterbury Tale, and that same year he joined the LIFE lab in London as an assistant. By the following year he was on staff.
—Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers