Life photographer Robert Kelley in IBM plant while working on story. (Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Life photographer Robert Kelley in IBM plant while working on story. (Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

In a previous book on LIFE photographers, Stanley Rayfield describes Robert W. Kelley (1920-1991) as “first and foremost a current news cameraman” who was in his element in the thick of a fast-breaking news story.” Which means, of course, that Kelley frequently placed himself in harm’s way and found that his involvement went beyond his assignment. For example, in 1956 he delivered relief supplies to stranded flood victims in Mexico, then got an overhead shot of the flood. That same year he broke a leg in Tennessee as he leapt from a car to escape a mob of segregationists. A decade later he injured his shoulder in a fall in Vietnam. For Kelley, it was all in the line of work.

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

View of the balloon used to lift a drop platform on the ground, New Brighton, Minnesota, May 1966. American parachutist Nick Piantanida (1932 - 1966) used the platfrom in his attempt to break free-fall record with a jump of 123,800 feet. (Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

View of the balloon used to lift a drop platform on the ground, New Brighton, Minnesota, May 1966. American parachutist Nick Piantanida (1932 – 1966) used the platfrom in his attempt to break free-fall record with a jump of 123,800 feet. (Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Ticker tape parade of crew of sub `Nautilus' up lower broadway. (Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Ticker tape parade of crew of sub `Nautilus’ up lower broadway. (Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

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

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

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