supervises photographic work and graphic art on the newspaper and is expert in visual materials — didn’t exist on most newspapers. It does now. Most photographs were edited, sized, and cropped by word people who had no training in “visuals.” Although they were often called “photo editors,” most of them were copy editors who later made a specialty of handling the photographic assignments and editing. The highest rank a staff photographer could expect to achieve was Chief Photographer.

The editor of the feature section at The Seattle Times, when I worked there in the seventies, was notorious for cropping photographs into circles, pentagons and, on Valentine’s Day, hearts, or insetting them in other photographs. This was anathema to us. We were purists — no goofy shapes and no insets.


This striving for professional status had its origins, in part, for those of us who photographed for daily newspapers, at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, which then had the best-known photojournalism program in the country. Its graduates got good jobs and were respected. The faculty at Missouri were among the chief proponents of this new, elevated view of newspaper photography. The influence of the school spread beyond the people who had studied there.

I learned about the Missouri orientation during the year Kathy Andrisevic and I shared a small darkroom at The Seattle Times. It later became more common for newspapers to have large, communal darkrooms that all staff photographers shared to do their printing, but in the late seventies at the Times photographers had their own darkrooms. There weren’t enough rooms to go around, so someone — I never knew who — decided to put the two women together. (Kathy was two years older than I, a more experienced photographer, and a graduate of a better journalism school, the University of Missouri. I got my degree at San Jose State.) We scrubbed our darkroom,


The Missouri Crusade and the Struggle for Autonomy