Portrait of Michael Mauney. (Photo by Don Sturkey/The LIFE Images Collection)

Portrait of Michael Mauney. (Photo by Don Sturkey/The LIFE Images Collection)

The last photographer to join the LIFE staff before the weekly magazine closed in 1972 was Michael Mauney (born 1937), a veteran newspaper photographer from North Carolina. Mauney was relieved to be away from the hard-news pressure of bagging the defining moment of an event: “I just always shied away from putting myself in a position of having to get that moment,” he once recalled. “I’d be around on the back side shooting something else or something.” Instead, he gravitated toward capturing people’s reactions to the big scene. LIFE’S folding ended what he considered his apprenticeship. “I wish they’d gone on another couple of years,” he said. “I think I would’ve developed a lot more as a photographer.”

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

Closeup of beautifully weathered hands of Navajo woman modeling turquoise bracelet & ring made by Native Americans. (Photo by Michael Mauney/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Closeup of beautifully weathered hands of Navajo woman modeling turquoise bracelet & ring made by Native Americans. (Photo by Michael Mauney/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Auto worker Kenneth Davis installing right front windows at Ford's plant. (Photo by Michael Mauney/The LIFE Picture CollectionCloseup of beautifully weathered hands of Navajo woman modeling turquoise bracelet & ring made by Native Americans. (Photo by Michael Mauney/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Auto worker Kenneth Davis installing right front windows at Ford’s plant. (Photo by Michael Mauney/The LIFE Picture CollectionCloseup of beautifully weathered hands of Navajo woman modeling turquoise bracelet & ring made by Native Americans. (Photo by Michael Mauney/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

More Like This

American destroyer USS Vesole escorting the Russian freighter Polzunov into international waters. The freighter is loaded with nuclear missiles and related equipment bound for the Soviet Union after being removed from Cuban soil, bringing an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Photo by Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Carl Mydans

Ballerinas at George Balanchine's American School of Ballet gathered around accompanist during rehearsal. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Alfred Eisenstaedt

Light pattern produced by a time exposure of the light tipped rotor blades of a grounded helicopter. (Photo by Andreas Feininger/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Andreas Feininger

President Harry S. Truman waving his hat as he holds up a king salmon while fishing with others on Puget Sound. (Photo by George Skadding/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

George Skadding

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

Loomis Dean

Giant sable antelopes roaming the Luanda game preserve. (Photo by Carlo Bavagnoli/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Carlo Bavagnoli