The LIFE Photography Collection: After the first issue of LIFE was released almost exactly 80 years ago, in November of 1936, the magazine quickly established itself as the home of iconic photography. Founder Henry Luce had promised as much in the prospectus for the magazine:

“To see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events; to watch the faces of the poor and the gestures of the proud; to see strange things—machines, armies, multitudes, shadows in the jungle and on the moon; to see man’s work—his paintings, towers and discoveries; to see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to; the women that men love and many children; to see and to take pleasure in seeing; to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed;
Thus to see, and to be shown, is now the will and new expectancy of half mankind.
To see, and to show, is the mission now undertaken by a new kind of publication…”

Workers on Montana’s Fort Peck Dam blow off steam at night, 1936.

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From an unpublished story on Venice in the wintertime, moored gondolas in the Grand Canal in front of a flooded Piazza San Marco with Santa Maria della Salute Church in the background – 1952, Dmitri Kessel

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From the April 25, 1949 feature story on the Caroline Islands – The Trust Territory: Its 2,130 islands form a new U.S. domain in the Pacific. Pictured here – “In the Palau islands a native poles a rowboat which is fitted with a sail from an outrigger canoe.” – Eliot Elisofon

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From the May 31, 1943 essay – Absenteeism: Industries adopt new methods to combat its prevalence in wartime. In the case of this image – “Beauty parlor recently installed in Detroit’s Woodworth plant, has cut absenteeism. Girls with good attendance records receive a free beauty treatment on company time.” – Charles E. Steinheimer

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Photo of a couple relaxing on bank of the Seine River during lunch hour, Paris, France – 1963, Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Photo from WWII – Farewell of servicemen, clock at Pennsylvania Station, New York – 1943, Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Model wearing Jacques Fath posing beside a Delahaye – 1947, Tony Linck

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1944, December issue of LIFE – Article; “Teen-Age Girls: They Live in a Wonderful World of Their Own.” – Photographer Nina Leen focused on a group of 12 girls, from 15 to 17 years old, living in Webster Groves, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis. This image ran in the photo essay with the following caption: “Gang of teen-agers push boyfriend’s model T to get it started. Car is 17 years old and can hold 12 boys and girls. Favorite ride is out to football game.”

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Legendary artist, Pablo Picasso was born 135 years ago today, on October 25, 1881 in Málaga, Spain. He is pictured here painting with light in 1949. — Gjon Mili

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On Black Cat Appreciation Day, LIFE looks back at the time 152 cats auditioned for the title role in Edgar Allen Poe’s 1843 short story “The Black Cat,” which would appear in the 1962 horror compilation “Tales of Terror.” – Ralph Crane

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68 years ago this week in the August 23, 1948 issue of LIFE magazine: BUCKY THE DEER—House pet on California pet on California ranch likes best to play with people. Original caption – “Bucky, and affectionate 15-month-old black-tailed deer, snuggles up to lick friend Jone Pedersen during an outing on beach near his home.” – Jon Brenneis

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Children playing stick ball in the streets of Spanish Harlem. – circa 1947, Ralph Morse

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An outtake from the October 6, 1941 feature story – South Dakota —Its Boundless Plains Are The Heart Of A Continent. Pictured here is a cement Apatosaurus in Dinosaur Park, overlooking Rapid City. The 5 dinosaurs represented in the park were built by the WPA. – Alfred Eisenstaedt

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A trio of young boys having a military parade in the streets from an unpublished story about Tarrytown, NY in 1944. – Eliot Elisofon

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1939 Brownsville Market Square Plaza by Carl Mydans for LIFE

Wide range of facial expressions on children at puppet show - The moment the dragon is slain, Guignol puppet show, Parc de Montsouris, Paris

Wide range of facial expressions on children at puppet show – The moment the dragon is slain, Guignol puppet show, Parc de Montsouris, Paris

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Brigitte Bardot! Born 82 years ago, September 28, 1934. She is pictured here during a break in filming the movie ‘Viva Maria’ in 1965. – Ralph Crane

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An outtake from the May 5, 1967 cover story — The gifted, wide-eyed sprite who is Mrs. Sinatra – MIA. In Europe Mia Farrow takes on her first starring movie role. – Alfred Eisenstaedt

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A young girl modeling tweed fashion with her great dane, 1957. – Nina Leen

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John Lennon was born 76 years ago on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, UK. He is pictured here in the pool with Paul, George and Ringo in a pool in Miami Beach, Florida in 1964. – John Loengard

Uniformed drum major for the Univ. of MI marching band practicing his high-kicking prance as he leads a line of seven admiring children who are all trying to imitate his flamboyant technique while marching across the campus lawn.

Uniformed drum major for the Univ. of MI marching band practicing his high-kicking prance as he leads a line of seven admiring children who are all trying to imitate his flamboyant technique while marching across the campus lawn.

Yankee Mickey Mantle flinging his batting helmet away in disgust during bad day at bat.

Yankee Mickey Mantle flinging his batting helmet away in disgust during bad day at bat.

Four models showing off the latest bathing suit fashions while lying on a sandy Florida beach.

Four models showing off the latest bathing suit fashions while lying on a sandy Florida beach.

On Black Cat Appreciation Day, LIFE looks back at the time 152 cats auditioned for the title role in Edgar Allen Poe’s 1843 short story “The Black Cat,” which would appear in the 1962 horror compilation “Tales of Terror.” - Ralph Crane

On Black Cat Appreciation Day, LIFE looks back at the time 152 cats auditioned for the title role in Edgar Allen Poe’s 1843 short story “The Black Cat,” which would appear in the 1962 horror compilation “Tales of Terror.” – Ralph Crane

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Glamorous actress Hedy Lamarr was not just another pretty face – she was also a trailblazing inventor. Fascinated by science and eager to find a way to help the Allies during World War II, she devised a way to make radio signals “jump” between frequencies – a technique known as “frequency-hopping” – in order to prevent the signals from being jammed. With her partner, George Antheil, they received a patent for this technology on this day in 1942. Today, variants of Hedy Lamarr’s breakthrough invention are used in communication technologies like Bluetooth, GPS and WiFi. She is pictured here in 1938. – Alfred Eisenstaedt