It was only fitting that the magazine at which CARL MYDANS made his mark as a photographer was LIFE because life was what he brought to documentary photography. Like his colleagues Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White, Mydans, who died last week at 97, helped transform photojournalism from a parade of static head shots and ceremonious poses into a supple narrative art.

When he went to LIFE in 1936, as its first issue was going to press, Mydans was fresh from the fabled team of photographers for the U.S. Farm Security Administration--Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange among them--whose pictures would become our...

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