Bill Eppridge Is Dead. His Photos Will Never DieS

Bill Eppridge, one of the greatest photojournalists who ever picked up a camera, a longtime LIFE and Sports Illustrated photographer and the man behind the harrowing, iconic picture of a fatally wounded Robert Kennedy lying in a pool of blood in a Los Angeles hotel kitchen in June 1968, died on Thursday in Connecticut. He was 75.

Like so many of LIFE's photographers, Eppridge could shoot anything. And he did. The Space Race, the Vietnam War, Woodstock, the KKK, the Beatles, politicians (most famously RFK and George McGovern), cross-country motorcycle racers, writers, scientists and on and on. His sensitive and clear-eyed portrait of two young junkies in 1965 New York remains one of the most admired, and among the most controversial, photo essays LIFE ever published.

Rather than focusing on one of his (many) landmark assignments, however, today we're remembering Eppridge through a series of pictures he made, also in 1965, of skateboarders. This is not groundbreaking photojournalism. But in their spontaneity, their strength of composition and in the photographer's evident willingness to be surprised and delighted with what's before him, they are wonderful. The man could shoot anything. And he did.

Goodbye, Bill. And thanks.

[See more of Bill Eppridge's skateboarding photos.]

Ben Cosgrove is the editor of LIFE.com. Picture This is his weekly (and occasionally more frequent) feature for The Stacks.

Photo: Bill Eppridge—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images