Bob Chamberlin, 1968

Our BHS’68 classmate, Bob Chamberlin, who started at the Los Angeles Times in 1979, was the first Times photographer to go into a war zone, traveling to El Salvador in 1981. He went to Haiti in 1985, where he photographed Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier two months before the dictator fled the country. In 1986, he became a senior photo editor and helped shape coverage on events including presidential election conventions, the First Gulf War in Iraq and the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. After the riots, he volunteered to return to the field as a photographer working for City Times in hopes of photographing healing in the city. On the Metro photo staff, he covered a variety of assignments in Los Angeles and he also worked as a weekend photo editor for the Sunday edition. He left the Times in 2015.

Here is Part 2 of his timeline.

APRIL 1993 – Married Diane Lynch in Berkeley, California which was on lock down because of the expected verdict in the re-trial of the Rodney King beating policemen.  My best man couldn’t make it to the wedding because he was working on the beating trial coverage.

MAY 1993 – Studied Spanish in Santiago, Chile during honeymoon.

JANUARY 1994 – Went back into the field as a photographer for Central City edition City Times and became Photo Editor for the 5 Zone Sections of the Times. City Times was set up to cover central Los Angeles, the area most damaged by the Rodney King riots.

JANUARY 1994 – Worked on coverage of the Northridge Earthquake which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1995.

MARCH 1994 – Birth of my daughter, Ellen.

Aftermath of a brush fire in Glendora Bob shot on his day off. Family had lost their home and returned to survey the damage. He gave the father a couple of airline bottles of scotch from his trunk to soothe his evening. (Photo by Bob Chamberlin)

JUNE 1995 – City Times and the other zone sections were closed because of declining ad revenue.  I returned to the Metro Photo Staff at the Times and became the page 1 Photo Editor for the Sunday Edition as well as a photographer for the rest of the week.

FEBRUARY 1997 – Assigned staff and Photo edited the North Hollywood shootout, for which the Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1998.

JANUARY 1995 – JANUARY 2016 – Continued as photographer and Photo Editor, traveling and working locally.

OCTOBER 2003 – Assigned photographers and Photo edited the first day of the brushfires of 2003 when out of control fires burned in 5 counties from San Diego to Ventura County.  3,000 homes were destroyed.  The Los Angeles Times was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

MARCH 2006 – My mother died.

JUNE 2008 – Diane announced she wanted a divorce and agreed to stay in the same house for four years until Ellen graduated from High School.  After doing the paperwork, I decided I wanted to come out of this time with something more than a divorce.  So I got qualified to dry-suit dive, started studying theology and teaching classes at church and began to work on my black belt in Tae Kwan Do.

JUNE 2012 – My daughter Ellen graduated from High School, toured Europe and prepared to attend the University of California at Berkeley.

Retired fireman in the western foothills of the central San Joaquin valley who kept a vintage fire truck on his property. (Photo by Bob Chamberlin)

AUGUST 2012 – I received my black belt in Tae Kwan Do from Master David Johns at the San Pedro YMCA.  Began teaching in the kid’s Tae Kwan Do classes there.

JANUARY 2016 – Accepted a buyout from the Los Angeles Times after 36 years in the Photo Department there.

JUNE 2016 – My daughter Ellen graduated from The University of California at Berkeley.

OCTOBER 2016 – I studied Greek in Greece and toured archeological sites around the country.

DECEMBER 2016 – Spent Christmas with my daughter Ellen in New Zealand.

DECEMBER 25, 2016 – My mother-in-law Ellen Lynch Gerwick died at the age of 94.

JANUARY 2017 – Attended two memorial services for her.

APRIL 2017 – Worked on a Habitat for Humanity site at the site of a burned down neighborhood in Weed, California.

MAY 2017 – Started to date Dr. April Herron, a theologian and Methodist Minister.

JULY 2017 – Served as a chaperone at a Sierra Service Project Junior High work site at Chiloqin, Oregon.

AUGUST 2017 – My daughter Ellen returned to the US after spending 10 months traveling in the South Pacific. Southeast Asia, India and Nepal. Drove her Volvo station wagon to the Bay Area for her after keeping it in LA with me for the length of her trip.

NOVEMBER 2017 – Drove April’s Volvo station wagon to Minnesota from LA to give to her daughter, Christina.  Stopped to see my sister in Denver and cousins in Kansas and Missouri.

Bob Chamberlin

This has been absolutely fascinating, Bob, as you were a witness to many historical events. Thanks for sharing!

2 responses »

  1. Sally Bartley-Moss says:

    For a confessed fly-on-the-wall, you have had an amazing life! I am so proud that you realized the role of observer was to be the path that fed your soul. Thank you for sharing your life with us. You are an incredible man, former Boy Scout and Emerson School dodgeball partner! Hope to see you at the Reunion!
    Best Wishes, Sally Bartley-Moss

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