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Paul Schutzer died 47 years ago, in June 1967, on the first day of the Six-Day War. The 36-year-old LIFE photographer was riding in a half-track personnel carrier with Israeli soldiers when he was shot through the head, moments before a bazooka round struck the half-track and wounded a half-dozen troops.
Days later, Schutzer’s body was found. Alongside his remains was his camera, baking in the desert sun; inside were the last pictures he ever made. Here, LIFE.com presents those pictures, in humble tribute to a master photographer and a great journalist taken too soon.
For weeks after his death, LIFE’s editors, correspondents and even LIFE readers paid tribute to Schutzer in the pages of the magazine he had helped shape for close to a decade. For some, he was a trusted and valued colleague; for others, he was a stranger whose work through the years had consistently and deeply moved them, delighted them, shocked them; for still others, he was a friend and not someone easily, or ever, replaced.
“Paul Schutzer and I went to college together and my memories of him will always be pleasant,” a reader named Mel Buxbaum wrote to the editors in the June 7, 1967, issue of LIFE. “He was a unique observer of people and events. . . . He saw the world through the eye of an accomplished artists and sculptor — perhaps this was the key to his remarkable genius with a camera.”
LIFE’s longtime managing editor, George P. Hunt, offered a clear-eyed and loving tribute to Schutzer in the June 16, 1967, issue.
“Paul was 36,” Hunt wrote, “but he seemed younger. His brown hair, friendly hazel eyes and handsome boyish face all told so much about his buoyancy and warmth. Indeed, Paul was a man deeply concerned with the human spirit, and it was this — his compassion for people — that made him the brilliant photographer he was.”
Ben Cosgrove is the Editor of LIFE.com