Wayne Miller, 94, a photographer who captured some of the first images of the destruction of Hiroshima, Japan, after it was struck by an atomic bomb during World War II and who created an indelible photograph of the birth of his son, died Wednesday at his home in Orinda, Calif.
Mr. Miller had more than 100 assignments for Life magazine, when it was a leading showcase of photography, and in the 1940s took a memorable series of images of African American life in Chicago.
In 1955, he helped assemble one of the most monumental photographic exhibitions of the era, "The Family of Man," which was curated by his mentor, Edward Steichen, one of the most prominent photographers of the early 20th century.
"Steichen was a father figure to me," Mr. Miller told Smithsonian magazine in 2009. "He was a fascinating teacher, never criticizing, always encouraging."
They met in the early 1940s, when Steichen was running a documentary photography unit for the Navy. He hired Mr. Miller, then a young Navy officer, to be part of the project.
His orders were succinct, if indirect: "Proceed where you deem necessary, and upon completion, return."
Mr. Miller traveled on Navy ships throughout the war and narrowly escaped death several times. One of his strongest photographs from the war shows a wounded pilot as he is rescued from his crashed airplane.
When he was stationed in Washington in April 1945, Miller made a series of photographs of a grieving nation as the funeral procession of Franklin Delano Roosevelt made its way from Warm Springs, Ga., to the White House.
Four months later, Mr. Miller was among the first photographers to document the destruction at Hiroshima, which had been leveled by an atomic bomb on Aug. 6, 1945.
After capturing horrific scenes of war, Miller created what may have been his most memorable photograph - an image of life in all its promise.
It was the birth of his son, David, on Sept. 19, 1946, which was also Miller's birthday. (The doctor delivering the baby was Miller's own father.)
The black-and-white image, showing the baby's umbilical cord still attached, is in many museum collections and was included in a time capsule aboard the Voyager spacecraft. In 1955, it became a centerpiece of "The Family of Man" exhibition.
- Washington Post