Carl Mydans was an American photographer who worked for the Farm Security Administration and Life magazine.
Mydans became devoted to photography while in college at Boston University. While working on the Boston University News as an undergraduate, his first reporting jobs were for The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. After college, he went to New York as a writer for American Banker and then in 1935 to Washington to join a group of photographers in the Farm Security Administration.
In 1936, he joined Life as one of its earliest staff photographers and a pioneering photojournalist.
Mydans recorded photographic images of life and death throughout Europe and Asia during World War II. In 1941, the photographer and his wife Shelley, herself a journalist, were captured by the invading Japanese forces in the Philippines, held for nearly a year in Manila, then for another year in Shanghai, China, before they were released as part of a prisoner-of-war exchange.
Mydans was sent back to war in Europe for pivotal battles in Italy and France. By 1944, Mydans was back in the Philippines to cover MacArthur's landing, where he took some of his most famous pictures.
As he came across the deck, tapping the deck with his cane, the entire ship was absolutely silent. And the sound of him coming to surrender his country -- tap, tap, tap -- affected me greatly. And my vindictive feelings about him vanished.