The notion of a groundbreaking photographer first seeing the light of day in a photo studio might sound like something out of an absurdist novel. But that's exactly how, and where, J.R. Eyerman ("J" to friends and colleagues), who made some of the most frequently reproduced pictures of the 20th century--and yet remains an unfamiliar name even to most self-proclaimed "photography buffs"--came into the world.
Full name is J.R. Wharton Eyerman. I was born [in 1906] in what was "the oldest and largest photographic studio in [Montana]". . . . My parents took advantage of the town's leading citizen to the extent of giving me his full name. The initials didn't stand for anything. . . .