Loomis Dean (1917 – 2005) was one of the legendary photographers whose work made LIFE magazine the leading photography showcase for more than four decades.
He became fascinated with photography while watching a friend print a photograph in a darkroom, and later chose to study photography at the Eastman School of Photography in Rochester, New York. Dean’s first job in 1938 was advance man and photographer for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. It was a fun and relatively short career with the circus, but one that left a lasting impression. As Dean says, “Circus people are drenched in their own adrenaline.” It is a nomadic existence – fun and exciting, a show to dazzle all ages. Dean’s photographs contain many of the same qualities; most seem to be taken with a twinkle in his eye.
In 1947, he joined the staff of LIFE and worked out of the Los Angeles bureau for ten years before he was transferred to Paris in 1956. There he stayed for twenty-five years covering Europe and North Africa. One of his intersting series of photographs was portraits of dancer twins Alice and Ellen Kassler, usually credited as the Kessler Twins, in Paris in 1958.
(Photos via LIFE photo archive)