NPR logo The Incredible Versatility Of Photographer John Dominis

The Incredible Versatility Of Photographer John Dominis

Photographer John Dominis died Monday at age 92 and left behind one of those archives that are hard to comprehend. Over the course of a few decades at Life magazine, Dominis not only worked in just about every photographic genre but also seemed to have mastered them.

The underpinning to his wildly variegated archive (fashion, war, architecture, poverty) is a sensibility: a way of reconciling the gravity of life with its levity in a single frame; an intuitive understanding of light and shadow; an enviable way of adapting to any situation.

Here is a very limited look at those moments, both iconic and quotidian, that Dominis witnessed and preserved:

Sports (But Lyrically)

Yankee Mickey Mantle flinging his batting helmet away in disgust during bad day at bat, 1965 John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image hide caption

toggle caption John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

Animals (As A Taxonomist Might See Them)

A "portrait" of Santa Gertrudis bull at King Ranch, 1952 John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image hide caption

toggle caption John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

Things Organized Neatly (Before It Was Cool)

An array of pots and pans used for cooking, 1968 John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image hide caption

toggle caption John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

Portraits (In Really Creative Ways)

Butterfly breeder Carl Anderson with monarch butterflies on his face, 1954 John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image hide caption

toggle caption John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

Butterfly breeder Carl Anderson with monarch butterflies on his face, 1954

John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

Food (Modernist Cuisine, Anyone?)

Argentinian matambre, a slice of beef rolled with vegetables and chilies, 1966 John Dominis/Getty Images/Time & Life Picture hide caption

toggle caption John Dominis/Getty Images/Time & Life Picture

War

Helicopter ambulance taking off on a flight to Seoul, Korean War, March 1951 John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image hide caption

toggle caption John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

Technology And Innovation (And Interesting Light)

Farmer Bob Chickering at dusk driving lamp-studded lettuce harvester he invented, 1955 John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image hide caption

toggle caption John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

Politics (From Eisenhower To Nixon)

President Richard Nixon and Chinese Premier Chou En Lai watching a pingpong match during Nixon's visit to China, 1972 John Dominis/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption John Dominis/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Wildlife (As In, Life And Death)

Leopard about to kill a terrified baboon, South Africa, 1965 John Dominis/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption John Dominis/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Celebrities (And Good Times)

Frank Sinatra singing during a performance in Las Vegas, Nev., April 1965 John Dominis/Time Life & Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption John Dominis/Time Life & Getty Images

Not Celebrities (And Hard Times)

Girl with cala lilies, Mexico, 1951 John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image hide caption

toggle caption John Dominis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

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