Lori Blumenfeld

Lari was our first female member of the Examiner. Her maiden name was Larene (not Lorraine) carey. She married Sam Blumenfeld, who was assistant City Editor of the Examiner years ago. Sometime after his death she moved to Placerville until she died. Lari spend 15 years as a combo photographer-writer for the defunct Berkeley Gazette. Among her stories-photo of import: Madame Nhu of Vietnam, the Berkeley/UC riots that followed Nhu’s speech at UC. The last prisoner to leave Alcatraz in the early 60s, the UC Davis riots, the American Indians retaking Alcatraz. From Editor and Publisher Magazine in 1944: Only surviving newspaper “camera girl” now at work on a San Francisco is Lorraince Carey, San Francisco Examiner. She first handled a flash bulb years ago in a Reno night club. Hers is the Emergency Hospital beat and the hours are 11pm to 8am – one hour is off for lunch. That may sound rough for a young lady just five years removed from high school, but Lorraince likes the work and the hours. “There are no bosses. There is action. And you don’t have to develop your plates unless something unusual happen.” Besides the beat is motorized, Miss Carey likes to ride in the ambulance which under the San Francisco’s system answers downtown accidents calls from its Civic Center station. No, it’s not too rugged, she said. Beside there are always stewards, a fellow cameraman ore reporters about. Lorraince is not the scary type anhow. One exception mush be made. The girl who covers night accidents, the mishaps of drunks and the whanot of the city life did wince at the thoughts of holds a big fish in her hands. The fish had been brount into the city room by the sports department for a “this one was that big” picture. In 1942, she became the second copy girl to work on the Examiner. She missed being first by just a week or so, she said regretfully. The folowing year the copy girl took leave to learn flying at Reno as Coast flying was barred in wartime. Miss Carey turned to night club photography to meet expenses and because it was good pay. “Have you ever watched a night club camera girl? Everything is shot at 20 feet. F/11 at 200th speed” Miss Carey explained. Miss Carey returnned to the Examiner with her wings and the ability to hold a camera. Word of this former avocation got around and by the end of 1945 she was given a few weeks camera instruction. Then came action. “My first day’s pictures were a fire, a church event and a baseball game. Mistakes, the first time I loadeda camera, I got the plates backwards. ake I missed a fire picture because I did not use a tripod and that taught me to use one.” Nightly equpment carried by the young lady consisted of a Speed Graflex 4×5, a dozen plates, bag and a tripod. Lorraince wears dark slacks, dark coat over a bight blouse or shirt. and shuns a hat. At one time San Francisco boasted four newspaper cameragirls. The Call-Bulletin had two, the Chronicle and Examiner one each. Miss Carey competes on even terms with 15 men for the paper’s montly prize awrds.

Robert C. Downing

AUBURN, Calif. (AP) – Robert C. Downing, a photographer for several small Northern California newspapers, has died of complications from diabetes. He was 35. Downing, a native of Washington, studied photo journalism at Fresno State University and went to work for a weekly newspaper in Clovis. He later joined the Paradise Post, where his photos won awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association. He later worked for the Roseville Press-Telegram until he was forced to stop working because of his illness. Downing is survived by his mother and stepfather, a sister and a stepbrother.

Seymour Snaer

retired Examiner photographer for 17 years, died at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley after a short illness. Mr. Snaer was 86. Mr. Snaer, an only child, was born in Oakland. He received a bachelor’s degree from UC-Berkeley in 1933, and worked as a freelance photographer from 1936 to 1943. In 1937, Mr. Snaer took the first natural action shots of a track meet for the New York Mirror, according to Who’s Who in California. Mr. Snaer joined the Examiner in 1943 and remained there until his retirement in 1978. In one of his prize-winning photos, titled “I’ll be OK, Mom,” Mr. Snaer captured a poignant moment in 1952 as a Marine sitting in a wheelchair leaned forward to embrace his mother upon his return from the Korean War. One of his photos, of a terrorist bombing at a San Francisco church in the 1970s, is included in “10,000 Eyes,” a book published by the American Society of Media Photographers. Flora Snaer said her husband happened by chance to be in a perfect position to take that picture, after someone shooed him toward the sidewalk. He was there to take photos of a policemen’s funeral. When the bomb exploded in the doorway, all the other photographers had to turn away and shelter themselves from the flying debris. Not Seymour. “He got the picture,” Flora Snaer said. Mr. Snaer was also known for his Kodachrome color photographers for the 1939 World’s Fair, which took place on Treasure Island. Denise Snaer-Gauder, Mr. Snaer’s 43-year-old daughter, remembers serving as a “model” in some of her father’s staged newspaper photographs when she was young. In one photo, she was the little girl hanging up her Christmas stocking. In another, she was playing in a schoolyard while a suspicious-looking man lurked nearby. Snaer-Gauder said her father was always ready to dash off in an instant to get a photo. He left his police scanner on all night, so he could hear any news bulletins as they were announced, and he always drove around with a couple of cameras in the car. Fran Ortiz, a retired Examiner photographer, said Mr. Snaer befriended him when he joined the staff as a rookie in 1962. Ortiz remembered the days the two photographers covered the Free Speech Movement at UC-Berkeley in the late 1960s. “It was war on Telegraph Avenue, and there was Seymour, right in the thick of it, getting remarkable images,” Ortiz said. Ortiz described Mr. Snaer as a “true professional,” someone who used his creativity and talent to make many memorable photographs – on deadline. “He was an inspiration to me,” he said. Ortiz also remember Mr. Snaer’s keen sense of humor. “In my image of him, Seymour always has a smile on his face and a pipe in his hand,” he said. In addition to his wife, who lives in Moraga, and daughter Denise, who lives in Berkeley, Mr. Snaer is survived by three grandchildren, ages 10, 12 and 26. Another daughter Mary Forest, died in 1983. Send letter of condolence to: Mrs. Flora Snaer 42 Sea Pines Moraga, CA 94556 Or you can call her at (510) 376-8364


Steve Essaff

a retired award-winning Examiner photographer, died Thursday night after a six-month fight with cancer. He was 71. A native of San Francisco, Mr. Essaff enlisted in the Army after graduation from Polytechnic High School during World War II. He served a photographer with the Medical Corps. He joined the staff of the Examiner in 1958. He had previously worked almost 15 y ears with International News Photo until INP merged with United Press. He retired from the Examiner on March 29, 1991, forming a distinguished career, during which he was awarded the California Press Photographers Association’s Gold Seal in 1983 for first place in its portrait/personality news photography competition. An easygoing and soft-spoken man, Mr. Essaff spent his last few years with the Examiner and an “inside man” or “hypo bender.” Before the arrival of automated developing machines, an “inside man” developed film and printed pictures taken by other photographers. On rare occasions, Mr. Essaff would also be sent out on assignments, which he enjoyed and excelled in. Included among his assignments was a quick dispatch in a rescue plane in search of survivors after a plane went down in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in 1958, while he was working for INP. He also covered political conventions. He formerly owned “Beeps Burgers,” a small fast-food restaurant on Ocean Avenue near City College in San Francisco. After retiring, he continued his hobby of cooking and did all the cooking at his Millbrae home. “I have no idea where anything is in our kitchen,” said Una, his wife of 41 years. The always jovial and slightly rotund Mr. Essaff died at Stanford Hospital. His family was with him when he died. In addition to his wife, Mr. Essaff is survived by a daughter, Anne Severs of Livermore; three sons, Peter of Sacramento, James of Elk Grove, and Robert of Fremont; a sister, Emily Farrah of Millbrae; and a brother George of Scottsdale, Ariz. Please send any letters of condolences to: Una Essaff, 269 Castenada Dr., Millbrea 94030. (415) 697-0399


Charlie Blagdon, UPI-January 2001

Retired UPI photographer Charlie Blagdon, 74, passed away Monday Jan 8th 2001. Charlie, like his lifelong friend and colleague Sam Mikulin who died last year was a local boy attending Balboa High School in the City. Following service in WWII he joined Acme Newspictures in the old News Bldg. In the mid 50’s Acme was bought out by United Press and then it became UPI. He retired in 1988. Always a boxing enthusiast, Charlie was a master at ringside photography and had the ability to make the shots of distorted faces with the glove still on the face. I’ve yet to see a photographer score so consistently at boxing.After retiring from UPI, Charlie put a real estate license to use and sold houses in Daly City where he lived.Shortly before Christmas he went into the hospital for a double bypass and spent three weeks in intensive care due to complications.Terry SchmittUPITerryS8113@aol.com