Photographer Lora Schraft: With love, goodbye

Lora Schraft

Most strangers pass by without you ever knowing their name, where they’re from or where they’re going. My job as the chief photographer of the South Valley has been to document people and illuminate something about their lives.
I’m fortunate to have been invited into these amazing communities during the past nine years. I’ve been in their homes, involved in intimate moments in their lives and watched children achieve accolades in sports and academics, graduate college and come back to work in the very same communities.
I received my degree in visual journalism in 2005 from Brooks Institute of Photography and moved to the Bay Area with my husband. I was originally hired at the Gilroy Dispatch and the South Valley has been my unofficial home for the better part of a decade.
I have photographed more than 9,000 assignments and put more than 275,000 miles on my little Toyota Yaris. I have shot everything from births to funerals, boxing fights to lemonade stands, criminal trials to graduations—but it hasn’t been easy. Believe it or not, I began as a shy person who tried to stay invisible. As the years passed, so many people have opened their homes and hearts to me that I feel I always have family just around the corner. My level of comfort and love for people has grown to level I never thought possible.
But now it’s time to start the next chapter. I will miss the communities, but I know they’ll always be here for me. I will miss my coworkers, but I know we will spend even more time together now that I’ll have more time to spend with them. And I’ll miss the creative images, the beautiful scenery and amazing people I’ve been blessed to be around during my tenure here.
I will miss working for the papers, but will treasure memories of my time here. I learned who I am, what I value and where I want to go. More cannot be asked of any job.
With love, goodbye.
Lora Schraft has been a photographer with the papers since June 2006. Her final day shooting images for the papers is Saturday. Visit her website at

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