Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photojournalist Brian Lanker Dies at 63

Posted by David Ozanich — 21 Mar 2011


Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Brian Lanker has died at the age of 63 at his home in Eugene, Oregon. While his work has appeared in many publications, from Life Magazine to Sports Illustrated, he is perhaps best known for his photograph "Moment of Life" (seen above) which was part of a black-and-white photo essay about childbirth. It was project which won him the 1973 Pulitzer Prize while he was working at the Topeka Capitol-Journal.

Interestingly, he later married the woman, Lynda, who was the subject of "Moment of Life". He is also known for his book "I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America".

From the Chicago Tribune:

"Brian was a master craftsman who didn't need words to communicate," Register-Guard's editor and publisher, Tony Baker, said. "His camera work alone made for extraordinary storytelling. He was a consummate professional, always prepared when on assignment for the paper. He was a big personality with a big-picture view of life and of his craft. Brian made everyone around him better at what they did."

From the New York Times:

As a freelancer in recent years, Mr. Lanker took on high-profile clients to finance the documentary work he thought needed to be done. So it is that photographs of Elle Macpherson from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue can be found in a portfolio that also includes the elderly Alfred M. Landon, who as the governor of Kansas ran unsuccessfully against President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936.

Mr. Lanker's debut as a documentary filmmaker came in 2000, on PBS, with "They Drew Fire: Combat Artists of World War II." He sought to preserve the work of artists who had been commissioned to paint scenes of warfare. Shortly before he died, Mr. Lanker whispered to Mr. Davaz, "There's just so much left to do."

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