Wayne F. Miller

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For other people of the same name, see Wayne Miller.
Wayne F. Miller: Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten, RN, addresses personnel aboard the USS Saratoga (CV-3) at Trincomalee, Ceylon

Wayne F. Miller (September 19, 1918 – May 22, 2013) was an American photographer known for his series of photographs The Way of Life of the Northern Negro. Active as a photographer from 1942 until 1975, he was a contributor to Magnum Photos beginning in 1958.


Miller was born in Chicago, Illinois.,[1] the son of a doctor and a nurse, who gave him a camera as a high school graduation present.[2] He went on to study banking at the University of Illinois at Urbana, while also working on the side as a photographer. From 1941 to 1942 he studied at the Art Center School of Los Angeles. He then served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy where he was assigned to Edward Steichen's World War II U.S. Navy Combat Photo Unit. He was among the first photographers to document the destruction at Hiroshima.

After the war he resettled in Chicago. He won two consecutive Guggenheim fellowships in 1946-1948, with which he worked on The Way of Life of the Northern Negro. These images were published in his book Chicago's South Side, 1946-1948. This project documented the wartime migration of African Americans northward, specifically looking at the black community on the south side of Chicago, covering all the emotions in daily life. The people depicted are mostly ordinary people, but some celebrities appear, such as Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Paul Robeson.

Miller taught at the Institute of Design in Chicago before moving to Orinda, California working for Life in 1953. He and his wife Joan [3] also worked with Edward Steichen as an associate curator for The Family of Man exhibition and accompanying book at New York City's Museum of Modern Art. Steichen selected eight of his photographs for the show, which traveled the world. He was a contract photographer for Life and served as president of Magnum Photos from 1962-1966. Miller was a longtime member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers and was named chairman in 1954. In 1970 he joined the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as executive director of the Public Broadcasting Environmental Center, and after his retirement from photography in 1975, worked to protect California's forests.

In addition to his career as a photographer, Miller provided the photographs for A Baby's First Year (1956) with Benjamin Spock and John B. Reinhart. Undertaking a three-year project inspired byThe Family of Man, he intensively photographed his own family. The resulting book The World is Young was published in 1958 and appeared as a 10-page picture essay in LIFE (13 Oct 1958).[4]


Miller died on May 22, 2013, at his home in Orinda, California, age 94, survived by his wife of 70 years, the former Joan Baker, and four children.[5]


  • A Baby's First Year. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1956. With text by Benjamin Spock and John B. Reinhart.
  • The World is Young. New York: Ridge Press, 1958.
  • Chicago's South Side: 1946–1948. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-520-22316-5.
  • Light, Ken. "Wayne Miller: World War II and the family of man". In Ken Light, Witness in Our Time: Working Lives of Documentary Photographers. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000. ISBN 1-56098-923-8; ISBN 1-56098-948-3.
  • At Ease: Navy Men of World War II. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2004. ISBN 978-0-8109-4805-1. By Evan Bachner. With work by Miller, Horace Bristol, Victor Jorgensen, and Barrett Gallagher.
  • Chicago Photographs: LaSalle Bank Photography Collection. Chicago, Ill.: LaSalle Bank, 2004. ISBN 0-9702452-3-8. By Carol Ehlers. Includes work by Miller.
  • Wayne F. Miller: Photographs 1942-1958. Brooklyn, NY: Powerhouse Books, 2008. ISBN 978-1-57687-462-2.


  1. ^ Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF) .
  2. ^ Yardley, William (26 May 2013). "Wayn Miller, 94, Photographer of War and Peace, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Sandeen, Eric J (1995), Picturing an exhibition : the family of man and 1950s America (1st ed ed.), University of New Mexico Press, ISBN 978-0-8263-1558-8 
  4. ^ Sean O'Hagan (May 31, 2013). "Wayne Miller obituary | Art and design | guardian.co.uk". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  5. ^ "Magnum News Wayne Miller (1918-2013)". Magnumphotos.com. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 

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