Loomis Dean on assignment for the rescue of survivors of the sinking of the Andrea Doria by the ocean liner Ile de France. (Photo by Cornell Capa/The LIFE Images Collection)

Loomis Dean on assignment for the rescue of survivors of the sinking of the Andrea Doria by the ocean liner Ile de France. (Photo by Cornell Capa/The LIFE Images Collection)

His father was an artist, and Loomis Dean (1917-2005) went to art school, “but it just proved I couldn’t draw.” He soon discovered his passion for photography, but before he went to work for LIFE in 1947, he sold Bibles during the Depression, put in four years as an assistant press agent for the Ringling Bros circus, and served in the Pacific Theater. According to Dean, “LIFE almost single-handedly changed the image of the news photographer from a slovenly, tobacco-chewing slob under constant pressure … to the pseudo-sophisticated type in neckties who were allowed to use initiative and imagination … We knotted our ties and set off to con people into all sorts of things they frequently didn’t want to do….It was all the most fun in the world.”

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

LIFE magazine cover published September 5, 1960, featuring author Ernest Hemingway. (Photo by Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

LIFE magazine cover published September 5, 1960, featuring author Ernest Hemingway. (Photo by Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

British entertainer Noel Coward in middle of desert, dressed for his nightclub act. (Photo by Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

British entertainer Noel Coward in middle of desert, dressed for his nightclub act. (Photo by Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Steve McQueen aims a pistol in his living room. (Photo by Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Steve McQueen aims a pistol in his living room. (Photo by Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

A man flying off a trampoline at Santa Monica Beach. (Photo by Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

A man flying off a trampoline at Santa Monica Beach. (Photo by Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

More Like This

Soldiers working on a locomotive. (Photo by Myron Davis/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Myron Davis

Sassy, plump baby chicks heralding the spring. (Photo by Wallace Kirkland/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Wallace Kirkland

Painter Jackson Pollock smoking as he squats on floor, applying paint to canvas in Long Island studio. (Photo by Martha Holmes/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Martha Holmes

Basset Hound being bathed in back yard. (Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Robert W. Kelley

The watermelon stripe baby Tapir stretching out beside the older family member at the Brookfield zoo.(Photo by Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Francis Miller

Students Steve Poster and Jessalyn Gray (fore C) talking at side of taxi while crowd of White Supremacists taunt them. (Photo by Joe Scherschel/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Joe Scherschel