Leif Skoogfors

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Leif Skoogfors (born 1940 in Wilmington, Delaware) is a documentary photographer and educator. He was born one month after his family, including brothers Olaf and Eric, fled Sweden as World War II broke out. His family had crossed the North Atlantic in December 1939 on a neutral Norwegian ship.

The family returned to Sweden in 1946 and Skoogfors attended a primary school in a small town in Dalarna County. When the Russian blockade of Berlin raised fears of war, the family returned to the U.S., and settled near Philadelphia.

His brother, Olaf Skoogfors, is a silversmith and jeweler who was instrumental in influencing his interest in art and photography. Skoogfors joined the U.S. Army and served three years with the Alaska Communications System.

In 1961, he studied with Alexey Brodovitch in the Design Laboratory in New York.

He began a freelance photography career in 1962 documenting the Civil Rights and anti-war movements and social issues.

He began teaching photography at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in 1964 while continuing his photography career. In 1966 he founded the BFA photography program at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, where he continued teaching until 1983.

His book on the war in Northern Ireland, "The Most Natural Thing in the World,[1]" was published by Harper & Row in New York and London in 1974. Photographs from the book have been exhibited widely.[2] Rudolf Arnheim commented on the work that "The photographs … combine documentary impact with a pictorial originality and beauty that is always strictly at the service of the subject, its meaning and mood."

He has worked extensively for both Time Magazine and Newsweek Magazines in numerous conflict zones.[3]

His work is in the permanent collections of The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The George Eastman House, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Princeton University.

In 2008 Skoogfors suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury while covering tornado damage in Atlanta.


  1. ^ Skoogfors, Leif (1974). The Most Natural Thing in The World. New York and London: Harper & Row. p. 100. ISBN 0060903856.
  2. ^ Photo exhibit Skoogfors
  3. ^ Leif Skoogfors/Corbis Assigned by TIME magazine