How Life Begins 1965
In 1957 he began taking pictures with an endoscope, an instrument
that can see inside a body cavity, but when Lennart Nilsson presented
the rewards of his work to LIFE’s editors several years later,
they demanded that witnesses confirm that they were seeing what they
thought they were seeing. Finally convinced, they published a cover
story in 1965 that went on for 16 pages, and it created a sensation.
Then, and over the intervening years, Nilsson’s painstakingly
made pictures informed how humanity feels about . . . well, humanity.
They also were appropriated for purposes that Nilsson never intended.
Nearly as soon as the 1965 portfolio appeared in LIFE, images from
it were enlarged by right-to-life activists and pasted to placards.