From the Heart
Published by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon Prologue by Maya Angelou
Brian Lanker saw more than most of us do. He saw opportunities in the moment, and he grabbed a camera, “the tool that was as quick and reflective as his brain,” writes sports columnist and editor Blaine Newnham.
Newnham recommended Lanker’s hire as picture director at the Eugene Register-Guard in 1974, just one year after Lanker had won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography at age 24, for his photographs in the Topeka Capital-Journal of a couple bringing forth their second baby during natural childbirth. “I want to show people things they can’t see, normally,” Lanker said.
That quote from Brian Lanker, along with many others, can be found among the captions in these pages, all of which were researched and written by Mike Tharp, a war correspondent and award-winning journalist, with whom Lanker teamed up at the Topeka Capital-Journal and became lifelong friends.
From the Heart combines Tharp’s captions with a striking selection of Lanker’s photographs and a collection of essays written by Lanker’s colleagues and friends, who for the most part were one and the same.
These essays—thoughtful, poignant, funny, and respectful—tell the story of Lanker’s bolting career start at the Topeka Capital-Journal, his ceaseless creativity, his driving work ethic, and his giving heart.
In her prologue, writer and poet Maya Angelou writes, “There was a generosity about Lanker, which allowed him to give himself to everyone as he was needed.” Brian Lanker was a photojournalist with the eye of an artist. Some of his photographs are timeless, and others are wholly of their time. From the Heart is a tribute to his singular vision, and a moving portrait of both man and artist.
About the author
Brian Lanker was a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and a documentary film director. Lanker was the photographer of the highly acclaimed book and international exhibition of portraits titled I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America and the book Shall We Dance. Lanker was twice named Newspaper Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association. His photography frequently appeared in LIFE, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated magazines as well as many international publications. Until his death in March 2011, Brian Lanker lived in Eugene, Oregon, with his wife Lynda.
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