Ralph Crane Commuter
Medium Silver print
Photo Date 1964 Print Date 1969
Dimensions 6-1/2 x 9-1/2 in. (165 x 241 mm)
Photo Country United States (USA)
Photographer Country United States (USA)
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Photographer's stamp on verso. LIFE set number 84011 3c-5 on verso. Businessman commutes from New York to Washington DC.
Ralph (Rudi) Crane was born July 30, 1913 in Halberstadt, Germany. He was a LIFE staff photographer for several decades and was known for his versatility and ease in any setting. He was a tall, elegant gentleman – a kind man and a pleasure to work with. Crane was expected to be a physician like his father and grandfather but instead pursued his father’s hobby of photography. He began taking pictures when he was 12. He spent so much time in the family darkroom that whenever his homework suffered too much his father deprived him of his camera until his school marks improved.
At 18 Crane decided to become a news photographer. One of his father’s patient’s got him a job carrying heavy equipment for the photographers of Wide World Photos (now part of AP). During the following two years he was promoted to a picture messenger, a darkroom worker then staff photographer. He also freelanced for the New York Times in Berlin. When he was 21 he was assigned to cover Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia.
After many left the Times Berlin bureau in 1933 due to growth and influence of the Third Reich, Crane moved to the UK in 1934, then to Geneva, Switzerland where he freelanced for Camera Press and Black Star and also where he met and married his wife, Denise.
From 1936 – 1941 he worked out of the New York Times London bureau on many stories in Europe. In the spring of 1941 he emigrated to US via the international free port of Lisbon. Following years of working for LIFE through Black star (he had a photograph of a Swiss mountain climber in the first issue, November 23, 1936) he joined LIFE’s staff in 1951, working out of the Bonn bureau (1952- 56) then the Los Angeles bureau until 1963. He continued with LIFE until the magazine folded as a weekly in 1972 and then worked on various projects at Time Inc. under contract until June of 1979. He returned to Geneva where he died in 1988 from cancer. He was 74.
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