William Lane, long-time Times-Dispatch photographer, dies at age 82

Newspaper photographer William Conn Lane Jr. learned his trade on cameras that produced 4-by-5-inch negatives.

“He always liked that (format),” said Bob Brown, senior photographer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “He was definitely old school.”

He became interested in his trade during his high school days in Welch, W.Va., where he was the photographer his school paper needed, according to a daughter, Susan Spaulding of Midlothian. He later worked for Woody Photography Studio in Welch.

Mr. Lane came to Richmond Newspapers Inc. on Jan. 1, 1967, after honing his skills as a portrait photographer at Dementi Studio in downtown Richmond. “He was a good studio shooter and did good portraits,” Brown said.

Mr. Lane, who won awards for his work from the Virginia Press Association and the Virginia News Photographers Association, died Monday at 82 at his last residence, the Chesterfield Heights retirement community.

A funeral will be held Thursday, today, at 7 p.m. at Swift Creek Baptist Church, 7511 N. Spring Run Road in Midlothian. Interment in Dale Memorial Park will be private.

During his news career, he shot photos of the famous, including actors Elizabeth Taylor and John Wayne and presidents of the United States, as well as the not-so-famous.

One of his most memorable photographs was of a flooded Main Street after Hurricane Agnes in 1972, colleagues said. He captured everything from civil rights riots to automobile crashes.

P.A. “Perk” Gormus Jr., retired director of photography for Richmond Newspapers Inc., remembered Mr. Lane as “a cheerful Christian guy that let everyone know he was a Christian. He was a good husband and father and really active in church.”

Mr. Lane served as assistant director of photography for The Richmond News Leader and the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 1984 until he took early retirement in 1992, when the papers merged.

In his later years, he went through the photos from his career and wrote little books of stories about what was going on in the photos. If he was missing photos for a story, he would paint the scene with words, his daughter said. He also wrote about his life and his family.


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