Edwin "Flash" Southall Roseberry (July 4, 1925 - October 13, 2022) was a local freelance photographer and historian who was well-known for methodically documenting several decades of life in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. He was once described by Coy Barefoot as the "Rufus Holsinger of the second half of the 20th century."
Born in Roanoke, Virginia on July 4, 1925, Roseberry moved to the university section of Charlottesville at age 14. His interest in photography began during World War II, when, prior to shipping out to do communications work for the Navy in Hawaii, his father gave him his first camera.
Following his service, Roseberry re-entered the University of Virginia in 1946, obtaining a a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce in the class of 1949. During this time, he also purchased his first professional camera, a twin lens reflex. His early work mainly used black and white film due to the limited light sensitivity of color film of the time. Roseberry was nicknamed "Flash" by UVA students due to his always using a camera with flash while photographing fraternity parties and other events.
In 1952, Roseberry won his first significant photo award at the 17th Annual Virginia Photographic Salon. Over the next 40 years, he won 34 first, second, third, and honorable mention awards. In 1955, he captured photos of Hollywood stars Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor at their hotel upon their arriving in Keswick to shoot pastoral scenes for the film "Giant." Roseberry was elected as president of the Charlottesville Camera Club in January of 1960.
Before becoming an independent freelance photographer, Roseberry worked for the State of Virginia. He was well-known for many photographs taken from unusual locations, including building tops and airplanes. Like many photographers of his time, he did his own dark room work.
Roseberry's work has been seen across the country through the Associated Press and other news agencies. In 1976, the nation's bi-centennial year, he photographed Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles during their visit to Charlottesville. He continued to take photographs throughout his later life.
In 2013, Roseberry donated camera equipment and approximately 150,000 negatives and prints spanning the years from 1949 to 2013 to the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. In 2014 the University of Virginia Alumni Association hosted the first comprehensive exhibit of his entire body of work, curated by local historian and author Coy Barefoot. This installation of over 100 photos was on display for well over a year to very positive reviews.
Ed's work was called up for two CitySpace exhibits as a part of Charlottesville's 250th birthday celebration. The exhibits were designed by local photographer Steve Trumbull. Roseberry planned for many years to publish a book of his work. In 2016, Flash: The Photography of Ed Roseberry was published as a collection of his best photographs of Charlottesville, with Trumball serving as an editor of the project. In 2019, Roseberry collaborated with Coy Barefoot to produce a documentary film about his life and work that premiered in the Vinegar Hill Theater.
Even in the last year of his life, Roseberry continued to take photographs with the assistance of his grandddaughters. He died on October 13, 2022 in San Jose, California at the age of 97.
Roseberry had two brothers named Bill and Bob and a sister named Caroline.
During the course of Roseberry's studies at UVA, he met Mary Louise Sprengel and eventually married her at the University of Virginia Chapel on September 2, 1949, having three boys with her named Ed Jr., David, and Kevin. Following Mary's passing from breast cancer in 1978, Roseberry commissioned a stained-glass window in memoriam of her that is on display at the University of Virginia Chapel. He remarried to Alice Boger in 1980, with the couple moving to Hawaii in 1985 to retire. After their eventual divorce, Roseberry moved back to Charlottesville in 2001 and lived there until October of 2020, when he moved once more to be with his son Ed Jr. and his wife Michele.
- Web. Charlottesville scene photographer Roseberry dies at 97, The Daily Progress, 10/13/2022
- Print: Camera Group Elects Officers, , Daily Progress, Lindsay family January 28, 1960, Page .
- Web. The People of 250: Ed Roseberry, Dan Gould, Charlottesville Podcasting Network, July 10, 2012, retrieved July 16, 2012.
- Web. FLASH: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF ED ROSEBERRY, C'ville Images
- Web. Edwin "Flash" Southall Roseberry, Dignity Memorial
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