Portrait of Howard Sochurek. (Photo by Howard Sochurek/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Portrait of Howard Sochurek. (Photo by Howard Sochurek/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Howard Sochurek (1924-1994) was never satisfied with his own work. “When I finish a story, I usually feel I am just about qualified to begin it because I have learned so much.” As General Douglas MacArthur’s photo assignment officer at the end of World War II, he got to take only one exposure of Emperor Hirohito. LIFE had several options but ran Sochurek’s shot. After the war he was just one year away from a Princeton degree when, despite the expectations of his family, he went to work as a newspaper photographer instead. LIFE hired him to cover the war in Korea; even though he lacked training, he parachuted out of a C-119 behind enemy lines. When his mother fell ill, Sochurek left his post in Indochina to see her. Robert Capa filled in for him—and was killed by a land mine. “I felt I was responsible,” Sochurek said. “That was my beat he was covering.” 

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

Poet Robert Frost standing in Oxford field with his hand over his face. (Photo by Howard Sochurek/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Poet Robert Frost standing in Oxford field with his hand over his face. (Photo by Howard Sochurek/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Public school students taking rhythmic dance class. (Photo by Howard Sochurek/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Public school students taking rhythmic dance class. (Photo by Howard Sochurek/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

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