Portrait of Michael Rougier with his camera. (Photo by Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Portrait of Michael Rougier with his camera. (Photo by Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

According to LIFE lore, Michael Rougier (1925-2012) is the only unknown who walked into the office and was hired right then and there as a staff photographer. His feat had been to get pictures of a then-camera shy Eva Peron and smuggle the film out of Argentina. It turned out, however, that celebrities would seldom be his subject. As a war correspondent in Korea, he did not aim for action shots but instead focused on “the stresses and strains of a soldier’s mind.” He also showcased the plight of a Korean orphan in “The Little Boy Who Wouldn’t Smile,” a story that brought Rougier acclaim and the boy clothes, medicine and toys from readers. Once, while trailing a geological survey crew up a nameless Antarctic mountain, Rougier tumbled down its side and was badly hurt. The peak now bears the name Mount Rougier.

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

Bride prepares for wedding, in traditional white gown, 19th century wedding dress. (Photo by Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

A bride prepared for her wedding, wearing a 19th century wedding dress, 1962.

Photo by Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation

Korean orphan Kang Koo Ri sitting at table eating meal in orphanage after a US soldiers found him next to his dead mother. (Photo by Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Korean orphan Kang Koo Ri sitting at table eating meal in orphanage after a US soldiers found him next to his dead mother. (Photo by Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Boy Scouts racing down a dune at the Indiana Dunes. (Photo by Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Boy Scouts racing down a dune at the Indiana Dunes. (Photo by Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

More Like This

Charlie Chaplin on the set of his film "Limelight," 1952. (Photo by W. Eugene Smith/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

W. Eugene Smith

A pilot looking out the window of a plane. (Photo by Bill Ray/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Bill Ray

Senator John F. Kennedy playing peek-a-boo with his daughter Caroline in her crib. (Photo by Edward Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Edward Clark

Inside a cell at the notorious Breendonk Nazi prison camp, a former Flemish SS guard is imprisoned after overthrow of German forces. (Photo by George Rodger/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

George Rodger

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

Ian Smith

Girls of the Children's School of Modern Dancing, rehearsing on the beach. (Photo by Lisa Larsen/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Lisa Larsen