The Bakersfield Californian photo staff came into its own as a well-regarded mid-sized newspaper staff (a photo internship at The Californian was one of the most desired among college students) in the 1980s, when the newspaper doubled the staff. Henry Barrios, Casey Christie, lab technician Scott Rice and I joined Liz Snyder, Alan Ferguson, Felix Adamo and chief photographer Jack Knight, and just like that, we had the numbers to handle just about anything happening in the town, which at the time had a metro-area population of around 160,000.
But The Californian photo staff was well known in the business and around the state for something else, thanks to the legendary San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen. (At least that’s who the old timers credit with the story.) You see, there was a time when The Californian had just two photographers, Jack Knight and Earl Day. Knight worked the day shift, and Day worked the night shift. Caen, the story goes, caught wind of it and wrote about the Bakersfield photographers where “Knight worked days and Day worked nights.” People loved it, and for many years I would encounter folks around town who would remind be about it.
We also had three staffers with similar names in the 1980s, and the public had a hard time keeping them straight. There were reporters Christi Kennedy and Patty Casey, and photographer Casey Christie. We would howl with laughter when people would call the newspaper and ask for Christi Casey, Patty Christie, Casey Kennedy or any other combos they came up with.