Through a Lens, Smartly

updated 11/11/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/11/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

In 1954 Sven-Gösta Johansson off Stockholm was assigned to photograph the hazards of boxing. He found Stig Fosberg, who in the first round of an amateur bout took a whopping punch in the nose. Later, when he saw the picture, Fosberg remarked, tusan"-"Well, ain't that the devil."

In 1957 Ben Mancuso covered Elvis Presley, who was in New York City for his third appearance on Ed Sullivan's TV show. Returning to his room after having coffee with the photographer, Elvis killed time by gazing into the hotel elevator mirrors. "I was struck by the fact that in spite of all his fame and all his fans, this was a very lonely guy," Mancuso remembers.

"These two teenagers were childhood friends," says Bruce Davidson of this portrait that went into his book about life on a single block of 100th Street in Manhattan. "They stood in the shade by a stoop.... Their faces were beautiful, open, hopeful.... I began to understand some-thing about the block just by looking at them." LIFE ran the shot in 1969.

Shirley MacLaine was 24, and Sachi, her daughter by producer Steve Parker, was 2½ when Allan Grant shot them for a cover in 1959. Sachi, a notorious mimic, would not cooperate at first, so MacLaine, using a mirror, copied her daughter's expressions instead.

In 1949 Philippe Halsman asked eight starlets to emote like silent movie heroines. (Above) Marilyn Monroe "seeing a monster." "I think she has a lot of potential," said Halsman afterward.

Margaret Bourke-White took her camera to the steel mills of Gary, Ind., in 1943 and found women in abundance, working alongside men and earning the same pay: $40.56 for a 48-hour week.

Voted out of office four months earlier, in July 1945, Winston Churchill rested on a wooden bench beside the main house at Chartwell, his country estate, and gazed firmly into Hans Wild's lens.

At the end of a day of shooting in 1988, Herb Ritts asked Mel Gibson to try some shots in the parking lot outside his studio. Gibson hunkered down beside a wall. "It's unglamorous glamor," says Ritts.

In 1938 William Randolph Hearst dressed up as President James Madison and rode a carousel at his 75th birthday party, given by his mistress, actress Marion Davies, at her beach house in Santa Monica. Bob Landry snapped Citizen Hearst on his skewered steed.

Ring bearer Keith Walkowitz, 5, kept his dad waiting at the altar in 1990 as his siblings and step-mom-to-be failed to persuade him to march down the aisle. Photographer April Saul had the best view. (Two months later, Keith was out of sorts again, at his mother's remarriage, but saved his protest for after the nuptials.)

Over five nights in 1947, Ray Shorr took 100 rides on a Coney Island roller coaster, wedging his hip under the safety bar of the first car and holding a Speed Graphic with a strobe flash above his head. He documented many screams—and the wide eyes of a 4-year-old.

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