Photographer John Phillips aboard boat posing in front of LIFE flag he hoisted in hopes of getting pictures of a Greek royal cruise from which press was barred. (Photo by John Phillips/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Photographer John Phillips aboard boat posing in front of LIFE flag he hoisted in hopes of getting pictures of a Greek royal cruise from which press was barred. (Photo by John Phillips/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Marshal Tito, then a Yugoslav resistance leader, was holed up in a cave in 1944 wearing a uniform made out of a horse blanket when John Phillips (1914-1996) arrived to do a portrait. He integrated himself into Tito’s life so completely that he once followed the revolutionary to the bathroom. He was quite easy to work with—except when it came to his dog. One time Tito insisted, “‘You watch my dog. He jumps.’ He had Tigar belly-flop in the water. He said, ‘Maybe you better get another picture.’ That was the only time he worried. He was so proud of Tigar’s jumping.” Once, to get pictures in Nazi-occupied Austria, Phillips rented a fancy car and put swastikas on the side. Phillips, who left LIFE five years after the war, said, “During the war, nobody could give us instructions because the movement orders were secret. You went along, dreaming up your stories on your own.” 

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

Execution of Prime Minister Laszlo Bardossy at Marko Place prison. (Photo by John Phillips/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Execution of Prime Minister Laszlo Bardossy at Marko Place prison. (Photo by John Phillips/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Terrified young Jewish girl Rachel Levy, 7, fleeing from a street with burning buildings as the Arabs sack the Holy City after its surrender during Palestinian Civil war. (Photo by John Phillips/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Terrified young Jewish girl Rachel Levy, 7, fleeing from a street with burning buildings as the Arabs sack the Holy City after its surrender during Palestinian Civil war. (Photo by John Phillips/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Yugoslavian infantrymen and an officer dancing the conga-like Kolo while singing. (Photo by John Phillips/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Yugoslavian infantrymen and an officer dancing the conga-like Kolo while singing. (Photo by John Phillips/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

More Like This

Weathered tree stump in desert near Mentone, Texas. (Photo by Vernon Merritt/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Vernon Merritt

Elvis and Priscilla leave the house he and his family occupied in Bad Nauheim, Germany. (Photo by James Whitmore/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

James Whitmore

Propeller turbulence photographed in stroboscopic light as water passes the torpedo. (Photo by Al Fenn/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Al Fenn

Boy looking at a cow in London. (Photo by Ian Smith/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Ian Smith

A view of Adolf Hitler's burning mountain house, "The Eagle's Nest." (Photo by David E. Scherman/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

David E. Scherman

Writer Niven Busch lying on sofa with newspaper over his face as he takes nap from screenwriting. (Photo by Paul Dorsey/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Paul Dorsey