Photometric data in blue (B), visual (V), and red (R) light are presented for 8 Wolf-Rayet stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud, together with finding charts for 53 of the objects. The WC stars are found to have a consistently smaller V-R colour than the WN stars. This is used to classify stars for which a spectroscopic class is not available. The luminosity of the WN stars is dependent on their location: the most luminous are found in the 30 Doradus complex; they are about two magnitudes brighter than the field WN stars. An evolutionary interpretation of the observed surface and magnitude distribution is proposed. The Wolf-Rayet stars are among the stars formed with masses near the limit for stability. They exhaust most of their hydrogen and reach the turn-off point thoroughly mixed. From then on they evolve by mass loss, the rate of which is not necessarily greater thin a few solar masses per 106 years. It is suggested that field Wolf-Rayet stars as well as other luminous Population I field stars exist because field stars single and multiple, form as well as associations in huge proto-clouds with dimensions up to 1000 pc.