Parting Glance: Brian Lanker, 1947-2011

The New York Times

It’s hard to say for which image Brian Lanker may have been most renowned. Was it the Pulitzer-winning photo of an ebullient Lynda Coburn with her couldn’t-be-more-newly born upon her belly? Or was it the elegant portrait of Septima Poinsette Clark, looking every bit the “queen mother” of the civil rights movement, that graced the cover of his book, “I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America”?

Read the complete story at The New York Times Lens blog >>


Sports Illustrated: Tribute to Brian Lanker

The late Brian Lanker won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for his feature photography and earned numerous other awards for his work for Sports Illustrated, LIFE and others. Here is some of his work in photos.

Here is some of his work in photos. >>


Presidential Pondering: In Memory of Brian Lanker

By SEAN D. Elliot
President, National Press Photographers Association

As a senior in high school, 25-years ago, I worked alongside the stepdaughter of Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Brian Lanker. She was the photo editor for the student newspaper, I was the photo editor for the yearbook. We were both effectively on each other’s staff at any given time.

Standing on the sideline of a Friday night football game with my Canon AE-1 Program and 135mm f2.8 lens, waiting for the action to get close enough for me to shoot, Julie walked in with a Nikon F3 and 300mm f2.8 over her shoulder, and a Pulitzer Prize winner carrying her bag.

Read Sean Elliot’s essay >>


Brian Lanker, 63, Loses Brief Battle With Cancer

© 2011 News Photographer magazine

EUGENE, Ore. — Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and filmmaker Brian Lanker, a newspaper and Life magazine, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated photographer whose book “I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America” was one of the most successful photography books ever, has died at his home in Eugene after battling pancreatic cancer for less than two weeks. He was 63.

Read the complete News Photographer Web update story >>


Photographs by Brian Lanker

One of the brothers died on Sunday — these are a few of his pictures.



Reunion HD (final)

Reunion HD (final) from john chao on Vimeo.

— Video by JOHN CHAO



Scenes from the old days


“He taught us to be journalists first”


About two weekends ago, a curious happening took place in Oregon. Thirty-five of the country’s sharpest shooters flew in from around the world to surprise a man they all “wanted to murder,” as Brian Lanker, the organizer, put it.

Read the complete story at NPR’s “The Picture Show” blog >>


So wonderful

“I am sure that he was there in spirit”

Editor’s note: Delmar’s daughter, Karen, sent this e-mail message to Rich earlier in the week. It’s posted here with permission.

Delmar Schmidt

Dear Rich,

I cannot imagine that you’ve come down from the lofty cloud that was produced after your amazing and adoring team of mentored photographers bestowed such a fabulous tribute to you in Eugene, Oregon last week. However, you may have, and you are now enjoying the memories of it all.

I look at the Cap-Jo online every day, from my home in Charlottesville, VA, where I’ve lived for 13 years and have been working as a UVa professor in Psychology. I was very touched and surprised by the lovely story that was published about you and your celebration events organized by Brian Lanker on Sunday. So wonderful.

I have also been deeply moved, repeatedly, upon seeing the inclusion of Dad in all of the photos, montages, and festivities in the celebration of your amazing career. Reviewing these photos is like I’m reliving the many work-related stories he would come home and tell us after a long day of work at the Cap-Jo. All of these captured moments are very special to me, and to my brothers and my sons as well. We all miss Dad, and Grandpa, and it is very sweet that you all remember Delmar so fondly. I am sure that he was there in spirit, as he would not have missed this event!

Thank you again for making my dad’s professional experience at The Topeka Capital-Journal a truly rewarding one. I have always been grateful to my dad for instilling such a strong work ethic in me. I have no doubt that Dad’s work standards of excellence were honed in part by you, and this in turn was passed along to his children.

Best wishes,
Karen Schmidt
Charlottesville, VA


A staff meeting to remember

Unbelievable. Amazing. Awesome. Impossible.

Words like that were used over and over during three days in Eugene, Oregon, last week. All that amazement was lavished on the reunion of Topeka Capital-Journal photographers and lab men held to honor their esteemed director Rich Clarkson. That 35 alums would travel great distances to honor their former leader is quite a testament to the influence Clarkson had on each of the photographers. Standing back and looking over the crowd, photographers would shake their heads in disbelief that so much talent was gathered in one room.

Read Jeff Jacobsen’s essay on the reunion >>