John Dominis

John Dominis (American, b. 1921–2013)

Born in Los Angeles in 1921, Dominis majored in cinematography at USC before he left school in 1943 to enlist in the Air Force. After the Second World War, he free-lanced as a photographer for a number of national publications, including LIFE, and was put on staff in 1950 when he volunteered to cover the Korean War.

Over the next two-plus decades, he traveled the globe, working in Southeast Asia and the American Southwest, Africa and Europe, Mexico and New York City. He covered six Olympics, including the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City, where he made his famous picture of American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the podium, their gloved fists raised in a Black Power salute. He was one of the first LIFE photographers to report from Vietnam. He covered Woodstock, and created what many consider the definitive photo essays on pop culture icons like Frank Sinatra and Steve McQueen.