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)

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