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
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.