J. R. Eyerman, a veteran Life magazine photographer whose training as an engineer enabled him to advance several photographic techniques, died Wednesday of kidney and heart failure at his home in Santa Monica.
Eyerman, 79, was credited with perfecting an electric eye that triggered a series of cameras photographing an atomic bomb test at Yucca Flat, Nev. in 1952. He also devised a camera that enabled explorer Otis Barton to take pictures at 3,600 feet below the surface of the sea.
His other innovations involve a robot camera that the Air Force attached to its early rocket the Aerobee-Hi in 1957 and a speeding up of color film to photograph the aurora borealis.
The son of photographers, Eyerman joined Life in 1942 and covered both fronts in World War II. He left Life in 1961 to work for Time, National Geographic and several medical magazines.