1988 - Moments in Time: Saskatoon Through the Lens of Leonard Hillyard
The Leonard A. Hillyard collection of photographs and negatives is a rich visual record of Saskatoon history. For six decades, from 1909 when he hired on for $2.00 a week as an assistant in a local photographic studio, until his retirement from the profession in 1974, Hillyard photographed people, places and events in the city.
Emigrating as a teenager with his parents from southern England, he arrived in Saskatoon in 1907 just as the pre-World War 1 building boom was getting seriously under way. Housing was so scarce that the family camped out in a tent during their first summer here. Two years later, however, they were becoming established, and young Len Hillyard took a first step toward what would become his life work when he obtained employment as helper to local photographer George Trott. After gaining additional experience with William Finley and Ralph Dill respectively, he opened his own photographic studio in 1913.
The outbreak of war the following year interrupted his career but, after serving overseas, he returned to the city and reopened this studio. For the next half century, Hillyard and his camera recorded the business endeavours, leisure-time activities, and special moments of Saskatonians. Although in 1966 he sold the business to Donald Steeves, who operated it under the name of Creative Professional Photographers, Hillyard continued to work with Steeves until he retired in 1974, sixty-five years after accepting his first job in a local darkroom.
It was with the co-operation of Steeves that the Leonard Hillyard photograph collection came to be housed in the Local History Room of the Saskatoon Public Library.
In recognition of his work, the Local History Room presents this exhibition “Moments in Time: Saskatoon through the lens of Leonard Hillyard”.
As is evident in the exhibition, Hillyard particularly enjoyed outdoor photography, recording special occasions and celebrations, construction projects, industrial development, and aerial views. His appreciation of light, his receptivity to form, and his keen eye for the interesting, the humorous, the aesthetically pleasing, as well as the documentary statement, are illustrated in this sampling of his work.
Original Gallery Show (1988) curated and produced by: Local History Room Staff