Skip Navigation

Photo Forum Gallery

Leonard Schugar

Story       Gallery

Leonard was innovative in the field of photography and he has been credited with establishing a national photographic market in Pittsburgh.

Leonard Schugar was born in Pittsburgh in March 1928. He was one of the kids who rode the street car every Saturday morning to attend art classes at Carnegie Museum. You could say that his career in photography began while at Oliver High School, when he took pictures of children and local events which he offered for sale to his neighbors. There was an interval after high school and before he had to report for military service when he attended the New York Institute of Photography in Manhattan. In the Army, he took crime scene photos for the Army and local police. After the Army, he studied photography at the Los Angeles College of Design. The year was 1949, he was twenty-one years old, and Leonard decided to continue his studies in Europe. Leonard enrolled at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris and studied painting under Masters Andre Lhote, Fernand Leger and Nicolas Poliakoff. He soon became fluent in the French language and established a relationship with a French press agency. Leonard began his travels as a correspondent and photo-journalist in post World War II Europe. With Paris as home base during that two-year period, Leonard traveled to more than twenty countries in Europe and North Africa and his stories were published in European and American magazines. Because of turbulent political conditions, he wasn't welcomed in some of these countries. One story documenting Franco's Spain that appeared in LOOK caused many readers to write letters to the editors. Some decried his biased view that showed too much poverty and squalor; others commended him for showing a true picture of conditions. He had to be spirited at night out of Hungary. After his arrest in Jugoslavia for taking unauthorized photos, Leonard decided it was time for him to go home. After he returned from Europe, Leonard worked for a brief time for a photo studio that operated out of Washington D. C. He covered one of the many pre-Castro revolutions in Cuba. In 1952 he got a job as a photographer with ;Westinghouse headquarters in Pittsburgh. In 1955 he got married and quit his job. He announced to the advertising and industrial communities that he was in business as Leonard Schugar, Photographer.

His reputation grew and his work grew, artistically and professionally. His work took him all over the US and abroad and his clients included firms that were based all over the country. Leonard was innovative in the field of photography and he has been credited with establishing a national photographic market in Pittsburgh. In 1961 Leonard and his wife had a son and built a house. In the latter years of his career, Leonard was involved mostly with long-term assignments, such as annual reports, facilities brochures and multiple projector slide presentations. Leonard felt that his background in fine arts helped to make him a better photographer and in 1975 he studied drawing with Herb Olds at Carnegie Mellon. Leonard Schugar was a popular speaker, lecturer and teacher. He was generous in contributing his time and skills to educational, civic and cultural organizations. In 1963 he went to Mississippi to document activities of civil rights workers and in 1969 taught young aspiring photographers at the Community Center in Homewood. His work for the Mental Health Society in 1957 resulted in a major exhibit that was shown in the U.S. and picked up by the U. S. Information Agency to be shown abroad. Leonard showed his photographs at many invitational group shows and during his career had five one-man shows. In 1975 he was the first photographer invited to show his work at the newly opened Scaife Gallery at The Carnegie Museum of Art. Leonard Schugar received awards for his work from New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles art direction and communications associations and an International Broadcasting Award from the Hollywood Radio and Television Society. His work was selected for inclusion in Advertising Age, Communication Art Magazine, the international PhotoGraphis Annual and at the Fotokina exhibition in Cologne, Germany. Leonard Schugar drowned while vacationing in the Mexican Caribbean in March I980.