Loomis Dean

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Loomis Dean, 'Fun at the Santa Monica Beach, California, 1948'
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Spanning five decades, Loomis Dean's career left a powerful impression on photojournalism. Beginning as a circus photographer, Dean transitioned to document WWII in the Army Air Force, before joining LIFE magazine in 1947, where he photographed princes, models, and Hollywood stars.

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Artist Biography

Loomis Dean

United States

B. 1917-2005


Early Life

Loomis Dean was born on 19th September 1917 in Monticello, Florida. Dean studied at Ringling Art School, but left a short time later to study Engineering at the University of Florida. It was here that he first encountered a fellow student developing photographs in the bathroom, which inspired Dean to enrol at the Mechanics Institute in Rochester, New York, now known as Rochester Institute of Technology.
Upon graduating in 1938, Dean worked briefly as a photographer for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, before becoming an Army Air Force photographer at the outbreak of World War II.

Photographic Career

He spent several years working for the army under the leadership of Colonel George W. Goddard, the aerial photographic researcher before joining the staff of LIFE magazine in 1947. At LIFE magazine, Dean oversaw the photographing of film stars and writers, models and royalty, including Ernest Hemingway, Noel Coward, Prince Liechtenstein and Elvis Presley. In 1956, Dean also photographed the sinking and rescue of passengers from the ocean liner Andrea Doria in France.

In Italy, the Pope awarded Dean the 1965 Papal Prize for the Vatican’s Ecumenical Council Photographic exhibition. After the termination of LIFE magazine, Dean worked freelance for various films and magazines, continuing to produce emblematic and seminal photographs. Dean died in California in 2005 at the age of 88.


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