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Bettye Lane
(September 19, 1930 - September 19, 2012) U.S.A.

Bettye Lane

Photographer

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Bettye Lane (born Elizabeth Foti) was born in Boston, one of the eight children of italian immigrants Luigi and Antonietta Foti. After her father returned to Italy, her mother was left struggling to pay the bills and was forced to put her into the care of a wealthier family for a time. Elizabeth was later forced to drop out of elementary school to work in a shoe factory. After a brief marriage to a World War II veteran, she moved to New York, keeping her married name.

She has worked as a free-lance photographer since 1959. She was a photojournalist whose vast catalog of photographs of the feminist, gay, and civil rights movements in the 1970s and 1980s contains some of the era's most iconic images. She attended the Boston University School of Public Relations and Communications from 1959 to 1962, concentrating in photojournalism.

She has had affiliations with the Harvard University News Office (1959-1962), CBS Television (1960), The Saturday Evening Post (1962-1964), the Associated Press and The National Observer (1966-1977).

In 1970, while working for The National Observer, Lane covered the first Women's Strike for Equality, a massive march down Fifth Avenue organized by the National Organization for Women; she became obsessed with documenting the movement. From then on, whether she got paid or not, Lane captured virtually every major moment in the liberation fights in New York City and many others throughout the country.

In the '80s she has been the New York Photographer for the New York-based German weekly publication Der Spiegel . Bettye Lane has gained recognition especially for photographs showing the plight of Native Americans, the social unrest of the 1960's, minority turmoil in the ghettos, and the women's rights movement.

Without Bettye Lane and a handful of other photojournalists, the record of the American queer liberation movement in the years directly following Stonewall would largely be lost.

Martin Lane Lyon
Bettye Lane, center, with Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, New York City, 1988
Photo by Morgan Grenwald, c/o The Lesbian Herstory Archives.

Ironically, despite Lane's role in capturing and cataloging queer history, her legacy is distorted by a major inaccuracy: Lane was not, as even her New York Times obituary claims, at the Stonewall Riots, nor are any of her pictures labeled as such; Lane was a meticulous recordkeeper and the origins of all her work can be found in the various archives that house her photographs.

The producers of PBS&'s "The Stonewall Rebellion"used some of Lane's images in the documentary and those images subsequently have been mislabeled.

Lane's work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution and some of her photographs are part of the permanent collection at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Her work is also part of the collections of the New York Public Library and the libraries at Harvard University and Duke University. Her photographs have also been utilized in documentary films and published books.

Bettye Lane died on her eighty-second birthday.

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Sources: http://lgbt-history-archive.tumblr.com/ - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - http://wordsofchoice.blogspot.it/

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