Blue Earth
Glazer's Camera

Josef Scaylea: 1913-2004


Josef Scaylea, one of the Seattle Times’ most recognized photographers, died on July 20 of natural causes, at the age of 91.

The son of Italian immigrants, Scaylea was born Josef Scaglia on a Connecticut farm in 1913. He attended a photography school in New York, then put his newly-polished skills to work in corporate and trade publications. After serving as an army photographer in the Pacific during World War II, he settled in Seattle. He was hired by the Seattle Times and spent the next 35 years photographing Northwest landmarks, events and people.

In 1954, Scaylea received the first of the more than 1,000 national awards that would grace his 50-year career in photography. His picture of the University of Washington crew team was selected Sports Photograph of the Year by Look magazine. Subsequent honors included being named one of the 10 Top Press Photographers of the Nation (10 times) and West Coast Press Photographer of the Year (also 10 times). In addition to the Seattle Times and Look, his work appeared in such publications as Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Life and The Saturday Evening Post. Scaylea also produced seven books, including his 1981 homage to Mount Rainier, "Moods of the Mountain."

Although he retired from the Times at age 70, he continued as an active photographer, making many of his Pacific Northwest images available over the Internet. As his health failed in recent years, friends would drive him to his favorite spots around the region, allowing him to continue practicing his art.

Scaylea is survived by four daughters — Jodene Hawkins of Hawaii, Annette Scaglia of Seattle, Michele Scaglia of Burien and Jill Chrisman of Boise — along with five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He and his wife, Virginia Christopher of Seattle, divorced in the late 1970s.