A man with his hands on his head.


A man with his hands on his head.

Leroy grew up on a small farm west of Holy Hill. His mother was an avid photographer. In 1956, at 8 years old, he asked her to buy him a camera because, for him, the concept of freezing time was the most incredible thing. However, she said he’d have to make the money to buy one himself so that he would appreciate it more. Leroy found a greeting card selling contest in one of his comic books with a camera as one of the prizes for top sellers. One day, a delivery truck dropped off a dozen boxes of cards, much to the chagrin of his parents. Leroy persisted and, stocking-capped and squeaky-voiced, went door to door. Alas, he didn’t sell many cards. Leroy was determined and was blessed with a camera and his life was changed forever.

Leroy began experimenting with 35mm photography while serving in Vietnam. His homecoming and reintegration proved difficult, and eventually, Leroy found himself living on the streets where he honed his photographic mindset and perspective. Having been a subject of many non-homeless photographers, Leroy discovered that many of the well-meaning photographers were actually quite impersonal, and he told himself that if he ever got off the streets that he would return to photograph and create relationships with his subjects. He knew that he would focus on people’s faces, especially their eyes, which, when frozen in time, are evocative and supremely human. Now known affectionately as the Cameraman by those experiencing homelessness, Leroy has worked on the St. Ben’s Community Meal Program annual calendar for the past 21 years and works each year for Help-Portrait Milwaukee, which offers free photo shoots for underprivileged families in December.

To be known as “Cameraman”, Leroy says, is both humbling and rewarding.” He says that his life as a photographer has been an incredible 61-year-old journey.

Visit: https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/12423478/leroy-skalstad-the-portraits to tour the virtual gallery of Leroy’s amazing work.