One of the leading commercial photography firms in mid-twentieth century Atlanta, Georgia, Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers was originally a partnership between William Cox Lane (1885-1964) and Jack (George Hubert) Lane (1889-1970). Both brothers were born in Georgia, sons of mathematics teacher Luke Cox Lane (1819-1904), and Alabamian Martha Harris Lane (1852-1923). From the middle 1910s, Jack and W. C. both worked as photographers for the Georgian, owned by William Randolph Hearst’s syndicate. Jack’s son Dan (Jack Daniel) Lane (1914-76) also photographed for the newspaper from the middle 1930s, as did W. C.’s son, Dub (William Cox Lane, Jr., 1912-70).
When the Georgian ceased publication in 1939, Jack and W. C. Lane established a freelance operation called Lane Brothers Photo News Service, shooting features and news for local papers and the national wire services. Their sons both continued as newspaper photographers for the Atlanta Journal. After military service during the Second World War, Dan and Dub both joined their fathers in the Lane Brothers business, which moved from the Atlanta’s English-American (Flatiron) Building to the Peachtree Arcade.
A Family Business
The company developed a large roster of corporate and non-profit clients, doing extensive work around the city and elsewhere in Georgia for retail, advertising, insurance, entertainment, and real estate companies. Dan Lane did much of the photography work and his cousin Dub managed the firm’s business and public relations. James Williams, son of Jack and W. C.’s sister Lula Lane Williams, also worked for the firm, as a darkroom assistant. Williams’s sister, Vera, married another Atlanta photographer, Tracy O’Neal.
Around 1961, the company was renamed Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers, and moved a few years later to the Loew’s Grand Theatre building. After the deaths of W. C., Jack, and Dub, business slowed but Dan Lane continued with an employee, Larry Coleman. In 1975, he retired and sold the business and recent negatives to Coleman. Dan Lane hoped to capitalize on nostalgia by selling prints of the images of Atlanta captured during the Lanes’ heyday, but he passed away in 1976. Coleman closed the studio the following year.
Behind The Scenes
Assignment book the Lane Brothers, pages 64 and 65 list the daily activities, LBASSIG-1943-64-65.Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers advertisement for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 1940s, LBprints2-001a.Reverse side of the Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers advertisement for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 1940s, LBprints2-001a.This clipping reproduces a retouched photograph of the “Old Flat Iron Bldg., Peachtree and Broad” where the first generation of Lane Brothers had their offices. The address given in the advertisement is “Lane Bros., 702 Georgia Savings Bldg., MA2513.” The Flatiron Building was also known as the English American Building, LBDOCS-0010.“Lane Photo Service Does Expert Work of Every Type: Firm Makes Fine Pictures in Shortest Possible Time” newspaper clipping of advertisement for Lane Brothers Photo News Service, June 29, 1942, in the Atlanta Journal, LBDOCS-0013“Lane Bros. Photographers Have Quarter Century of ‘Know-How” newspaper clipping of advertisement for Lane Brothers Commercial Photography, December 1, 1958, printed in either the Atlanta Journal or the Atlanta Constitution, LBDOCS-0012.This clipping reproduces one of the photographs made by J.H Lane Jr. and Dan Lane for the premiere of Gone with the Wind in Atlanta at Loew’s Grand Theatre on December 15, 1939. The photograph reproduced celebrates the arrival of the film’s male star, Clark Gable, his wife Carole Lombard, Atlanta Mayor William B. Hartsfield, and former Georgia Governor, E.D. Rivers, LBDOCS-0003.Newspaper clipping of advertisement for Lane Bros. Photo News Service, from unidentified newspaper, circa 1949, LBDOCS-0009.
1947 Textile Strike
Film footage shot by “Dub” during the 1947 Textile Workers Strike in Atlanta. The video shows strikers holding signs while circling the parking lot.