Larry Burrows with his camera. (Photo by Larry Burrows/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Larry Burrows with his camera. (Photo by Larry Burrows/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Larry Burrows (1926-1971) was born in London to a hardworking railway employee, and as Larry’s Britishness never waned, neither did his industry. Early on as he was learning his craft, he thought nothing of repeating an entire day’s work to get the job done right. Time spent in the museums of Europe served him well, honing his own artist’s eye—and a masterly appreciation for color—for his life’s work: the battlefield. From Suez to Lebanon, Cyprus to the Congo, he became versed in the cruelties of war. Then, in 1962, he began nine years of documenting a beautiful land seized by war: Vietnam. His images are nothing short of timeless. “One Ride with Yankee Papa 13” has been called perhaps “the greatest photo-essay ever made.” After Burrows’s death, LIFE Managing Editor Ralph Graves stated, “I do not think it is demeaning to any other photographer in the world for me to say that Larry Burrows was the single bravest and most dedicated war photographer I know of.”

Paraplegic Lau Nguyen, 10, Vietnam, 1970. (Photo by Larry Burrows/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Paraplegic Lau Nguyen, 10, Vietnam, 1970. (Photo by Larry Burrows/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

This image of a North Vietnamese atrocity has been used by some as a counterpoint to the My Lai massacre. In any case, it remains a powerful human document. The boy at right was paralyzed by shrapnel and shipped to America for surgery. He spent three years there with a foster family before being sent back to Vietnam. By then, he could speak only English and could walk only with crutches; he had become an enigma to his family. To Larry Burrows, “Lau’s is not the greatest tragedy in Vietnam. But as one looks at pictures of this courageous little chap, one has to wonder whether the ultimate agony of this war is not seen in his eyes.” 

Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers

LIFE magazine cover published April 16, 1965. Featuring a flight crew injured during the Vietnam war. (Photo by Larry Burrows/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

LIFE magazine cover published April 16, 1965. Featuring a flight crew injured during the Vietnam war. (Photo by Larry Burrows/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Cyclone survivor, East Pakistan, 1970. (Photo by Larry Burrows/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

Cyclone survivor, East Pakistan, 1970. (Photo by Larry Burrows/The LIFE Picture Collection © Meredith Corporation)

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