As a newspaper photographer, James Whitmore (1926-c.1966) knew how to get close to the action. He had already worked in 44 countries before he became a LIFE staffer. At the 1953 border riots in Trieste, a grenade went off near him, killing several policemen. When Whitmore got back to his hotel room, he discovered that the grenade’s head and fuse assembly had been blown into the folds of his torn overcoat. Once, at a Vatican ceremony, he found himself so entrapped by throngs that to extricate himself and his film, he kicked the shins of a Swiss Guard who promptly ejected him by passing him over the heads of the crowd. After serving as a LIFE staff photographer until 1962, Whitmore went on to become an art director for Encyclopaedia Britannica.
—Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers