Larry Burrows

Larry Burrows

1926 – 1971


Larry Burrows began his career during one of the most exciting and harrowing times for photojournalists: World War II. Life Magazine’s London bureau hired 16-year old Burrows as a “tea boy,” essentially an errand runner for the staff. His first job gave him exposure to some of the world’s best news images. Soon, Burrows became a “shooter” in his own right, taking photographs of Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway and others. Burrows is best known for his nine years of work covering the Vietnam War. His photographs reveal the human perspective behind the fighting, the precise angle Life was looking for in their war coverage. Burrows often shot color film, while many of his counterparts used black and white exclusively. Color gave his images a greater sense of immediacy and a heightened reality.


  • Larry Burrows will be inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame at a ceremony October 29th, 2021.
In the 1960’s, Larry Burrows became the preeminent photographer documenting the Vietnam War. His iconic images of the humanity and inhumanity that the war fostered haunt us to this day. And because of his choice of film, he is considered a pioneer in the use of color. Yet before his involvement with the Vietnam War, he was already an accomplished photojournalist, working for LIFE magazine, alongside photographic greats like Margaret Bourke-White and Robert Capa. He worked with Capa on Magnum’s first project, People Are People, but at 22, opted to stay with LIFE rather than join the new photography cooperative. During those early years, he produced a body of work that included London street scenes, and portraits of personalities and politicians, including Brigitte Bardot, Louis Armstrong, Ernest Hemingway and Winston Churchill. And in London, on November 1, 2013, a previously unseen photograph of Vivien Leigh by Burrows was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery to celebrate the centenary of Leigh’s birth. The most recent major exhibition to show Burrows’s work, organized by the Princeton Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opened in Princeton just as the pandemic lockdown was imposed. Fifty years ago, on February 10, 1971, flying in a South Vietnamese helicopter over Laos during the US-supported invasion of that country, Burrows was shot down; all aboard were lost.


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