|Dates: ||1895, 8 December - 1982, 4 January|
|Born: ||US, NY, Brooklyn|
Approved biography for Albert J. Leigh
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)
Al Leigh ran a photographic supply store in Minneapolis for over thirty years. He helped found the Minneapolis Camera Club and preserved much history of the group, its annual salon, and pictorial photography in the Twin Cities.
Leigh was born in Brooklyn on December 8, 1895, to parents from England. As a young man he worked for the Ford Motor Company, which transferred him to Minneapolis. He was a playful character even as an adult, posing for goofy portraits and always maintaining a sense of humor.
In 1931, Leigh was a charter member of the Minneapolis Camera Club, for which he served as secretary-treasurer for its first decade and as recording secretary until 1947. His image of a man with a tripod slung over his shoulder was used on the club’s stationary and competition labels. He was on the organizing committee for the Minneapolis Salon of Photography from 1936 to 1938 and performed duties for area clubs other than his own. For the Minneapolis Photographic Society he judged monthly competitions and in 1937 gave a talk on making paper negatives. He also judged competitions at the YMCA’s camera club and was on the jury for the 1943 Spring Salon, sponsored by the Gopher Camera Club.
The Minneapolis Salon of Photography accepted pictures by him every year between 1932 and 1945, except once. And he successfully sent his work to salons elsewhere, including Owatonna (Minnesota), Duluth, and the Kodak International Salon in Harrow, England, in 1933 and 1935. His pictures were shown in the Kodak building at the 1939 New York World’s Fair and at camera clubs in Boulder, Harrisburg, Oakland, and San Francisco.
Leigh worked as a clerk at the Minneapolis Eastman Kodak store for eight years, beginning around 1929 and quickly learned the business. In 1937, he opened his own downtown photographic supply shop, Leigh, Inc. He advertised it as a place "Where Pictorialists Meet," and, indeed, the Minneapolis Camera Club frequently held its meetings there. Leigh ran the store until 1969, when he sold it to Pako, another local photographic concern. After staying on as a consultant for a year, he retired at age seventy-five. Albert J. Leigh died on January 4, 1982.
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012)
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission.
Date last updated: 1 June 2013.
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