Every iconic photograph through history has a story to go with it. Sometimes, the picture tells the story all by itself. Robert Capa’s photographs of the D-Day landings on Normandy beach are a prime example. But there are other stories, too. The photographs themselves takes on a life of their own. Studying them infers things that aren’t immediately apparent.
Sometimes, the film itself can also literally have its own story. As is the case with four rolls of negatives sent by Robert Capa to LIFE Magazine from the Normandy landings. Ultimately, only one of those rolls made it to the magazine. Here’s the story as told by John G. Morris, former photo editor of LIFE.