Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer Brian Lanker Honored with Retrospective Exhibition at Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker” is on view January 23 – April 24, 2016, and is accompanied by a major book of the artist’s photography.


EUGENE, Ore. -- (November 19, 2015) – Almost five years since his death, a new exhibition organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art honors the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Brian Lanker with “From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker.” Featuring more than 70 of his acclaimed photographs, the exhibition is on view from January 23 through April 24, 2016, and opens with a free reception on Friday, January 22, from 6 to 8 p.m.


“From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker” is accompanied by a book of the same name featuring the artist’s work with reflections and reminiscences by his colleagues, friends, and admirers. Drawn primarily from the images in the book, the exhibition includes images from Lanker’s journalism career in Kansas, working for the Topeka Capital-Journal, as well as contract work for Life, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic and others, focusing on sports, travel, and the arts.  Also included in the show are selections from Lanker’s three books: “I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America,” “Shall We Dance” and “10,000 Years of Shoes.”


 “Rich Clarkson, president of Clarkson Creative, Lynne Lamb, Lanker’s assistant, and Lynda Lanker brought the project to me,” recalls executive director Jill Hartz, who serves as in-house curator for the show.  “All of us at the JSMA were honored to publish the book and bring the exhibition to fruition.” 


On Saturday, January 23, two events will recognize Lanker’s contributions to phot   ography. At 11a.m., Michael O’Brien, a nationally recognized photographer, and DJ Stout, design partner at Pentagram, will discuss “From Photograph to Art Book:  The Making of From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker.” At 2 p.m., “From Topeka to Eugene: Telling the Story,” features a panel discussion with Lanker’s colleagues Blaine Newnham, former sports editor and columnist for eleven years at the Register-Guard, Carl Davaz, deputy managing editor for the past sixteen years at the Register-Guard, and Gary Settle, staff photographer and assistant photo director at the Topeka Capital-Journal. Lanker’s mentor, Rich Clarkson, former director of photography at the Topeka Capital-Journal, and founder and president of Clarkson Creative, will introduce the program.


In 1970, Clarkson hired Lanker at the Topeka Capital-Journal, which had already developed an impressive reputation as a training ground for the finest photojournalists. 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. The subject of the photograph was Lynda Coburn, whom Lanker would marry in 1974.


That year, Clarkson encouraged Lanker to accept a job at The Eugene Register-Guard, 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.”


Lanker proved his storytelling ability with three personal book and exhibition projects. The first was 1989’s “I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America,” which featured portraits of 75 women in academia, arts, business, politics, sports and other fields and was at that time the largest attended exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.  In 2008, he published “Shall We Dance?” a project that began as a photo essay for National Geographic and expanded to become a book that explored dance in cultures throughout the world. In 2011, after his death, the University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History published his final project “10,000 Years of Shoes.”


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  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.


About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, the Americas and Europe as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.


JSMA: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


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