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Wayne Miller: He Took the Shots Seen Round the World
Posted By Patrick Kiger On May 23, 2013 @ 3:22 pm In Legacy | Comments Disabled
Wayne Miller, who died on May 22 at age 94  in Orinda, Calif., captured iconic images of such a wide range of subjects that it’s almost hard to believe that a single person even saw all these moments, let alone photographed them.
Just look at this 2009 retrospective , which includes just a small portion of the portfolio that he shot from the 1940s to the mid-1970s. There’s a dramatic photo of a wounded airman being lifted from a plane on the deck of an aircraft carrier in the Pacific during World War II, and a heartbreaking image of a elderly Japanese couple who survived the A-bomb blast at Hiroshima. Other images show grief-stricken mourners at President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s  funeral in 1945, and the serene, closed-eyes visage of singer Lena Horne. There’s a sinewy African-American laborer, clad in a T-shirt, dungarees, boots and a incongruously rakish fedora, dragging cables across a Chicago train yard – part of a landmark photojournalism project, “The Way of Life of the Northern Negro,” that Miller undertook in the late 1940s. There’s also a jazz club hipster lighting up a joint, a man being nuzzled by his Italian greyhound at a dog show, and a woman modeling a brassiere fashioned from potato chips, taken at a snack-food maker’s convention.
But Miller’s most famous and influential photograph – included in the 1955 “Family of Man” exhibition  at New York’s Museum of Modern Art – was the one that he took on Sept. 19, 1946, of his son David Baker Miller, a moment after Miller’s wife Joan gave birth to him. In the image, David Miller – eyes closed, grimacing, glistening with amniotic fluid and attached to his mother by the umbilical cord – is being lifted upside-down by a masked obstetrician. Perhaps more vividly than any other photograph ever taken, it depicts the startling, tumultuous beginning of a human life. The image was so resonant that a panel led by astronomer Carl Sagan chose it to be included in a collection of human artifacts to be carried outside the solar system  by the Voyager space probes , which were launched in 1977.
Oddly, the doctor delivering David Miller in the photo was his grandfather, Harold Wayne Miller, a prominent obstetrician at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago. “My father was proud of his work,” Wayne Miller recalled in a 2009 Smithsonian magazine interview.  “So he was happy to have me in there with my camera.”
Photo: Copyright Joan Miller (courtesy of Magnum Collection)
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URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/05/23/wayne-miller-dies-at-94-family-of-man-photos-famous-photographers/
URLs in this post:
 died on May 22 at age 94: http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_4&VBID=2K1HZOZPXWTZQ&IID=2K1HRGWT1VKS&PN=1
 Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/PAR208914.jpg
 2009 retrospective: http://www.stephendaitergallery.com/dynamic/artist.asp?ArtistID=49
 Franklin D. Roosevelt’s: http://www.aarp.org/politics-society/history/info-10-2010/roosevelts_depression_alphabet.html?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG
 1955 “Family of Man” exhibition: http://www.moma.org/learn/resources/archives/archives_highlights_06_1955
 collection of human artifacts to be carried outside the solar system: http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/goldenrec.html
 Voyager space probes: http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/index.html
 2009 Smithsonian magazine interview.: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Indelible-Images-Special-Delivery.html
 Ray Manzarek: 5 Facts About the Doors’ Keyboardist: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/05/21/ray-manzarek-dies-at-age-74-5-facts-about-the-doors-keyboardist/?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL
 Miracle in Oklahoma: Elderly Woman Reunites with Her Dog on Live TV: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/05/21/oklahoma-city-tornado-survivor-barbara-garcia-reunites-with-dog/?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS
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