If longtime Life magazine photographer John Dominis had a specialty, it was that he was a supreme generalist.
He took famed pictures of Frank Sinatra and Steve McQueen, both of whom could be touchy with photographers, but Dominis won them over to the point that he was allowed to spend long periods of time with them, taking shots that gave rare glimpses into their private lives. Dominis also did sports, capturing an iconic 1965 shot of Mickey Mantle tossing away his helmet after a bad turn at bat, and U.S. sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists in defiance on the podium at the 1968 Olympic Games.
But there were also photos from the wars in Korea and Vietnam, animals fighting to the death in Africa, the Woodstock rock festival, politicians, ballet dancers and even detailed close-ups of food.
Not having a specialty could lessen the chance of a photographer becoming a household name. But the last editor of weekly Life, Ralph Graves, said Dominis’ ability to do it all was his great strength.