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Obit of the Day: Photographer Wayne F. Miller

Wayne MIller was going to be a banker. But as with so many of his generation, World War II intervened. Mr. Miller was recruited by fashion photographer Edward Steichen to be part of an elite naval photography unit. During the war, Mr. Miller would document all facets of military life. He was also one of the first photographers on the ground after the bombing at Hiroshima (bottom center).

Mr. Miller returned home to Chicago at the end of the war. Having documented death and destruction for four years, Mr. Miller had decided to try and use his camera to heal. He spent three years on Chicago’s predominately black South Side documenting day-to-day life. His hope was to bring whites and blacks together. It became his seminal work, Chicago’s South Side.

The rest of Mr. Miller’s career covered broad areas. Whether it was as a member of the famed Magnum Photo cooperative or curating “The Family of Man” (which featured the photo, above, of Mr. Miller’s father delivering his grandson, David), Mr. Miller was attempting to capture ”’universal truths,’ and it was his hope that if he could use his camera to reveal those truths, we might achieve a greater understanding of ourselves and each other.”

Wayne Miller died on May 22, 2013 at the age of 94.

Sources: Chicago Sun-Times and MagnumPhotos.com

Images:

Top left: Younger Siblings of Detroit Gang Members, Detroit, Michigan, 1947 Copyright of Wayne Miller and courtesy of www.liquidnight.tumblr.com

Top right: Undated photo from World War II. Copyright Wayne Miller and courtesy of www.faciepopuli.com (a tumblr)

Top center: Birth of Wayne Miller’s son David, delivered by David’s grandfather. Copyright Wayne Miller and courtesy of smithsonianmag.com Note: Carl Sagan included a copy of this photo on the “golden record” that was placed on Voyager I and II as a message for other cultures. The spacecraft were launched in 1977 and left the solar system in the 2010s.

Bottom center: Chicago South Side, 1947 Copyright of Wayne Miller and courtesy of thenewyorker.com. Note: When Langston Hughes was writing a newspaper column he would refer to a character he called “Simple.” When he saw this photo taken by Mr. Miller he said “That’s Simple.” Source

Bottom left: Chicago’s South Side, 1946-1948 Copyright of Wayne Miller and courtesy fo www.higherpictures.com

Bottom right: Hiroshima, Japan (Japanese soldier and Atomic bomb destruction), 1945 Copyright of Wayne Miller and courtesyof www.hartmanfineart.net

For more incredible images check out Obit of the Day’s Photography page

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