From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker

From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker

January 23, 2016 to April 24, 2016

More than four years in the making – since Brian Lanker died of pancreatic cancer on March 13, 2011, at the age of 63 – this retrospective exhibition accompanies a major book of the artist’s photography, with reflections and reminiscences by his colleagues, friends, and admirers. Drawn primarily from the images in the publication, the exhibition features Lanker’s extraordinary photographs of rural Kansas, sports, the arts, noted African American women, shoes, and more. 

In 1970, Clarkson first hired Lanker at the Topeka Capital-Journal, which had already developed an impressive reputation as a training ground for the finest (photo) journalists. During his tenure there, Lanker was twice named Newspaper Photographer of the Year and, in 1973, he received a Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for his series on natural childbirth. It was an unusual way to meet one’s future wife, but for Lanker, not only was his own life filled with exceptional experiences, he had a rare gift of making all his subjects feel very special. In her article on Lanker (March 19, 2011), The Oregonian writer Kristi Turnquist noted: “Lanker leaves behind a body of work that revolutionized his art form. But his friends, family and colleagues around the globe say they will remember not only his exceptional eye and artistic ability, but also his passion for living, vast spirit and boundless energy.”

In 1974, Clarkson encouraged Lanker to accept a job at The Register-Guard in Eugene, first as photographer and later as director of graphics, where he continued to set new standards for journalism and photographic storytelling. He left in 1982 to pursue free-lance work for such magazines as Life, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated. He also took on three personal book/exhibition projects. The first, I Dream a World: Black Women Who Changed America (1989) —Lanker’s first collaboration with Maya Angelou -- featured portraits of 75women in academia, the arts, business, politics, sports and other fields and was at that time the largest attended exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.  Shall We Dance (2008; foreword by Maya Angelou) began as a photo essay for National Geographic and expanded to become a book that explored dance in cultures throughout the world. 10,000 Years of Shoes (2011; Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Eugene), one of his last project’s, was completed following his death.

In addition to the photographs, From the Heart features the audio-visual educational program, Images of Man, a series of eight slide shows each featuring the work of different photographers, including Lanker, as well as W. Eugene Smith, Henry Cartier-Bresson, and Eliot Porter. Lanker’s 1998 documentary film, They Drew Fire: Combat Artists of WWII, a highly acclaimed PBS broadcast, will also be shown.

From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker  is made possible by Rich Clarkson Creative, the Coeta and Donald Barker Changing Exhibitions Endowment, The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, and JSMA members.

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“From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker” is made possible by  Clarkson Creative, the Coeta and Donald Barker Changing Exhibitions Endowment, The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, and JSMA members. - See more at: http://jsma.uoregon.edu/pulitzer-prize-winning-photographer-brian-lanker...