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As It Was: Terry Skibby’s Camera Records Ashland (Ore.) History

By recording history with his camera for nearly 70 years, Ashland photographer Terry Skibby has become a historical figure in the process.

Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library formally inaugurated the Terry Skibby Photograph Collection this year as part of its digital archives.

Skibby has served on the Ashland Historic Commission since 1989 and received the town’s James Ragland Volunteer Award in 1996 for his role in heritage protection. 

Born in 1945 in Ashland, Skibby has taken tens of thousands of pictures of his hometown since receiving a gift Kodak Brownie film camera as a child. Today a digital 35mm Nikon SLR takes his images.

Skibby told Ashland Tidings writer Maureen Flanagan Battistella, “I like photographing architecture, especially historic buildings and street scenes, artifacts and glassware, antiques, nature, including birds, insects, clouds, the moon, scenic; also sports, candids, trucks and buses and trains and anything that looks interesting.  I like taking pictures.”

Skibby is easily recognizable as he moves about town by his long white hair, full white beard, backpack, and a camera and binoculars around his neck, as the Tiding writer put it, “waiting for something to happen.”

Source: Flanagan Battistella, Maureen. "Celebrating Terry Skibby: A Life with Camera." Mail Tribune, 17 May 2019 [Medford, Ore.] , visual arts ed., p. M8.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.