Tent-dwelling hippie family reading bedtime stories. (Photo by John Olson/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

A tent-dwelling family at an Oregon read bedtime stories, 1969.

Photo by John Olson/The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

“From the age of 10, I wanted to be a photographer. My father was a farmer, and when he passed away, he was still mystified that you took this little box out and pushed a button and a week later, from the drugstore, these images came back.” LIFE learned of the precocious  John Olson (born 1947) through photos he took for Stars and Stripes while serving two years in Vietnam, where he was wounded twice. He became the magazine’s youngest staff photographer ever at age 21, and his youth was no doubt central to the success of a completely different sort of feature he shot for LIFE: on rock stars and their families. 

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

Rock musician Eric Clapton w. his grandmother Rose in the house he bought her in Surrey. (Photo by John Olson/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Rock musician Eric Clapton w. his grandmother Rose in the house he bought her in Surrey. (Photo by John Olson/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Women marching in New York at the Women's Strike for Equality, a march in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. (Photo by John Olson/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Women marching in New York at the Women’s Strike for Equality, a march in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. (Photo by John Olson/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

More Like This

Sidney Poitier in a scene from "Porgy and Bess," 1959. Photographer

Gjon Mili

New York Commuters read of John F. Kennedy's assassination, November 1963. This Carl Mydans photo did not appear in LIFE when the magazine published as a weekly, but has been printed in later books. Photographer

Carl Mydans

US Army nurses arriving in the Middle East. (Photo by Bob Landry/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Bob Landry

The kitchen in President Harry Truman's family home. (Photo by Henry Groskinsky/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Henry Groskinsky

American sailors on shore leave sit in a pedicab while their buddy takes their picture, Shanghai, China, December 1945. (Photo by George Lacks/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

George Lacks

Painter Henri Matisse using a bamboo pole tipped with charcoal to draw a half-scale figure of St. Dominic. (Photo by Robert Capa/The LIFE Images Collection) Photographer

Robert Capa