Brian Lanker, Pulitzer-winning photographer, dies at 63

Friday, March 18, 2011; 9:15 PM

Brian Lanker, who won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography in 1973, died Sunday at his home in Eugene, Ore., 10 days after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the Eugene Register-Guard reported. He was 63.

Mr. Lanker won the Pulitzer for a black-and-white photo essay on childbirth, exemplified by his photograph "Moment of Life," which featured his future wife, Lynda. He was working for Kansas's Topeka Capital-Journal at the time.

During the 1970s, he was twice named Newspaper Photographer of the Year by National Press Photographers Association and the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Mr. Lanker became a nationally known photojournalist whose work appeared in Life, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic magazines. A project he began for National Geographic about dance in America was published in 2008 as a book, "Shall We Dance?"

Other books of his photography include "I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America" (1989) and "Track Town, USA" (2010).

"Brian was a master craftsman who didn't need words to communicate," said Tony Baker, editor and publisher of the Register-Guard, where Mr. Lanker worked as director of graphics from 1974 to 1982.

"His camera work alone made for extraordinary storytelling. . . . He was a big personality with a big-picture view of life and of his craft."

In 2000, Mr. Lanker directed a PBS documentary, "They Drew Fire," about the combat artists of World War II.

Survivors include his wife and three children.

- From news services and staff reports

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