Ed Popejoy, an early Sacramento TV news cameraman who later filmed public works projects for the state, died Sept. 7 with emphysema and pneumonia, said his son Greg. He was 84.
With a curious mind and creative eye, Mr. Popejoy traveled and met people in all walks of life during a long career in photography and film and video production. He had a portrait studio in Redding before settling in 1959 in Sacramento, where he used special high-speed film to record rocket tests at Aerojet that were reviewed by engineers.
During the tumultuous 1960s, he witnessed news events as a TV cameraman for channels 3, 10 and 13, and as a stringer for networks. Besides covering state Capitol politicians and presidential candidates in Sacramento, “he covered a lot of protests,” his son said. “He got beat up a couple of times and got his cameras broken.”
He went to work for the state in 1969. For 20 years he worked as a motion picture specialist in the Employment Development Department. Traveling throughout California, he photographed and filmed public works projects, government events, and state officials and employees for in-house newsletters and public service announcements. He met politicians, workers and newsmakers, including farm labor movement leader Cesar Chavez, his son said.
Born in 1930 in Santa Maria, Edward Mack Popejoy grew up in Fairfield, Vallejo and Redding. He served stateside in the National Guard during the Korean War and worked in a plywood plant in Redding before taking up photography as a profession. Besides taking pictures, he had a lifelong interest in aviation and bought his first airplane at 19.
After retiring in 1989, he moved to Yuba County and pursued fine art photography. He assembled a portfolio of images of people, airplanes, landscapes and other subjects that were exhibited at the Globe art gallery on Del Paso Boulevard in Sacramento, his son said.
“He started buying books about photographers and photography, and studied them until he became an expert,” his son said. “He became so knowledgeable, he could have gotten a Ph.D. in photo history.”
Mr. Popejoy was married for 32 years to his wife, Alice, until her death in 1982. In addition to his son Greg, survivors include sons Geff and Gary; four brothers, William, Richard, Michael and Kelly; and three grandchildren.
A celebration of his life is set for 11 a.m. Oct. 26 at the Urban Sanctuary, 24th and K streets, Sacramento.