Group of torpedomen relaxing beneath rows of deadly torpedoes in torpedo shop, one man actually sitting on torpedo resting on gurney, during WWII. (Photo by Horace Bristol/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Group of torpedomen relaxing beneath rows of deadly torpedoes in torpedo shop, one man actually sitting on torpedo resting on gurney, during WWII. (Photo by Horace Bristol/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Horace Bristol (1908-1997) always called himself a photojournalist, rather than a photographer. Indeed, in the ’30s, when he was associated with the f/64 group, which included Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, the latter said Bristol’s approach was that of an artisan rather than an artist. Bristol agreed; he wasn’t interested in stately tripod work—he wanted to tell a story. After seeing Dorothea Lange’s pictures of migrant workers, Bristol, who was on staff at LIFE during 1937 to 1938, pushed the topic at the magazine. Finding no interest, he persuaded John Steinbeck to work with him as a captionist for a book on the migrants’ plight. After two months, Steinbeck begged off, saying there surely was a book to be made, but he saw it as a novel; Bristol later said that Steinbeck never mentioned his part in the birth of The Grapes of Wrath. Bristol went on to make an important patriotic contribution with his robust images of sailors during World War II.

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

Army maneuvers at Fort Warren. (Photo by Horace Bristol/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Army maneuvers at Fort Warren. (Photo by Horace Bristol/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Oil wells near Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Horace Bristol/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Oil wells near Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Horace Bristol/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

More Like This

Bikini clad actress Jayne Mansfield posing with shapely bottles floating around her in her pool. (Photo by Alan Grant/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Allan Grant

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

Wide-angle photo of the floor at the Democratic convention with John F. Kennedy supporters.(Photo by Ralph Crane/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Ralph Crane

President Harry S. Truman waving his hat as he holds up a king salmon while fishing with others on Puget Sound. (Photo by George Skadding/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

George Skadding

A camel caravan in front of the pyramids of Khefren and Cheops, also called the Great Pyramid. (Photo by Eliot Elisofon/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Eliot Elisofon

Babies crawling during the 8th annual Diaper Service Derby sponsored by the National Institute of Diaper Services. (Photo by Cornell Capa/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation) Photographer

Cornell Capa