Caroline Valenta, a trailblazing photographer
A trailblazer for women photojournalists, Caroline Valenta began her career in photojournalism with the Houston Post and was shooting photos on her iPad up to her death of pancreatic cancer at age 88.
Caroline Valenta, a newspaper photographer and Pulitzer Prize nominee, poses with her 1929 Ford Model A in front of The Houston Post building in 1948. A trailblazer for women photojournalists, Valenta carried a Speed Graphic camera when, in 1947 at age 23, she was sent to cover a major industrial disaster in Texas City, Texas, for the Houston Post. Shortly before her death Feb. 20 in Westhampton, Valenta, 88, was shooting photos with an iPad, said her son Grover V. Gatewood. A longtime resident of Lindenhurst and Sag Harbor, Valenta had battled pancreatic cancer.
Pioneering Houston Post news photographer Caroline Valenta, right, with a reporter Mary Lou Johnson in the paper's city room in 1947.
Caroline Valenta, left, with Life photographers Dmitri Kessel, center, and Cornell Capa, right, and others in 1948.
As a photographer for The Houston Post, Caroline Valenta covered several news events. Her photos were later featured in a news photography exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, including a shot of a returning World War II serviceman reuniting with his family. "Daddy, daddy, daddy!" shouts Thomas Earl Pizzo, 3, on seeing his father, 1st Lt. Earl Pizzo, as he arrives at Union Station in Houston after a year's duty in China. Daughter Winnie Jo, 2, in her mother's arms, has a bewildered look and seems uncertain about the newcomer's identity. (Oct. 29, 1945)
The ruins of the Monsanto Chemical plant in Texas City, Texas, after the worst industrial accident in U.S. history claimed more than 581 lives and injured 8,485. (April 16, 1947)
In addition to her professional work, Caroline Valenta also turned her camera on her offspring and the family still has several boxes of her undeveloped film. Above, daughter Lillie V. Gatewood is photographed by Valenta immediately after her birth. (March 10, 1957)