Shirlie Alice Montgomery • June 9, 1918 – Nov 5, 2012

Shirlie always had her camera handy.
Shirlie Alice Montgomery was born on Chapman Street in San Jose on June 9, 1918. She was an only child. To her friends and neighbors she was a treasure trove of history. Shirlie remembered it all. She remembered the Great Depression as a child, the Second World War as a young woman, and eventually the transformation of the Santa Clara Valley from a moderately sized agricultural town to the hustle and bustle of modern Silicon Valley. The majority of her memories were supported by the thousands of photographs in her collection.
Young Shirlie Montgomery

Shirlie a few years ago from an article in the Rose Garden Resident.

She was the grandniece of San Jose’s forefather T.S. Montgomery. Shirlie lived a colorful life but professionally she photographed it with a 4X5 Speed Graphic in B&W. She was a celebrated photographer that shot Hollywood stars, U.S. Presidents and pro wrestlers. Although Shirlie did work for the S. F. Examiner and the San Jose Mercury her works remain some of the best representations of pro wrestling from the 40’s thru the 60’s. When asked about her penchant for shooting professional wrestlers she would answer “I always liked the big boys”. Such stories Shirlie had! She passed away quietly on November 5, 2012. She will never be forgotten. God rest her soul.

Obituary written by Shirlie's good friend and neighbor Joe Holt

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Experimental Wrestling Photo

Shirlie was generally straightforward about her photography. She manipulated photos for publication ... cropping them, highlighting parts of the image and blacking out backgrounds when they got in the way of the message. But these were part of the standard journalistic photographer's toolbox.

There were times where she played a bit more with the images, however. She had one at home that made her look like she was diving ... when actually she was standing on her toes and she printed the photo turned 90 degrees. For greeting cards she would embellish the prints and even use double exposure to make some pretty cool cards.

Only once have I seen a wrestling photo with a double exposure effect! This one from the 1950s where she combined two out of the ring fight images to hype up the action. Very effective. I think these are the Sharpe Brothers and at least one Torres or maybe Ronnie Etchison, but not sure. BTW, that's Glenn Neece trying to break them up.