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)

Bride prepares for wedding, in traditional white gown, 19th century wedding dress. (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)

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