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HEN ASPIRING PHOTOGRAPHER John Launois moved to California in 1955, he was working three jobs to make ends meet: as a gas-station attendant from 5 a.m. to noon, as a vacuum salesman from noon to 4 p.m., and as an airport dispatcher till midnight.

THAT ALL CHANGED in 1956 when Black Star offered him his first contract on assignment to Japan. And though he has been crisscrossing the globe taking photographs ever since, his hours are still voluntarily long.
  IN 1977, LAUNOIS spent months among Japanese Sumo wrestlers, documenting the ritualistic ceremonies involved in their training. His work captures more than just rich tradition, it captures a compelling story.

AN ART DIRECTOR for Fortune described Launois' abilities best: "Even when he gets on location and realizes that what we are after isn't really there, he has always been able to come up with something that has not only satisfied us, but that is usually even better than what we thought we would get."
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