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In 1965, LIFE's Bill Ray spent several weeks with a gang that, to this day, serves as a living, brawling embodiment of the American outlaw: the Hells Angels. "I got along with the Angels," Ray (above, with camera) recalls. "I got to like some of them very much, and I think they liked me. I accepted them as they were, and they accepted me. You know, by their standards I looked pretty funny. Just look at this picture -- that's some kind of a plaid shirt I've got on," he says, incredulity mixing with amusement. "But that was the best I could do to try to fit in!"Bill Ray—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
In 1965, LIFE's Bill Ray spent several weeks with a gang that, to this day, serves as a living, brawling embodiment of t
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Bill Ray—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
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Great Assignments: LIFE Photographers Look Back

Jan 31, 2012

Over the course of its extraordinary run as the preeminent photography magazine of its time, LIFE sent its photographers all over the globe to cover the most famous, shocking, thrilling, controversial newsmakers and events of the 20th century. Marilyn Monroe. Steve McQueen. JFK. The Hells Angels. Woodstock. Muhammad Ali. If something or someone was on the minds of LIFE's million of readers, or was central at that moment to the reat national conversation, LIFE's photographers were there.

The result? A gallery in which several LIFE photographers recall favorite assignments and the people and places that -- captured through their lenses -- helped define both the era and their own stellar careers.

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