Born on April 24, 1934 in Pittsburgh, Pa., Forrest Harris began going by “Bud” in the early 1960s. This transition can be seen on many of his glassine negative sleeves. The earlier sleeves are marked “F.H.” while the later are marked with “B.H.” He graduated from Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill in 1952. From 1952 to 1953 he attended Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), where he studied chemistry.
Though not trained professionally in photography, he began what would be a life-long passion in April 1959 as a photographer for the Mount Lebanon News, working there until December 1959 when he went to work for Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. (PPG) as corporate promotions photographer. He held this position until April 1961. From 1962 to 1964 Harris worked as a contract employee at the University of Pittsburgh, where he took editorial photographs for Pitt Magazine and made motion pictures for student recruitment and fund-raising efforts. From 1964 to 1970 Harris worked for Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation (J&L Steel) in their Research and Development Department as the Audio Visual Supervisor.
In 1970, Harris was selected by the US Department of Health and Human Services to serve as one of six photojournalists to document the work of the Social Security Administration. After the completion of the still photography portion of his assignment, Harris went on to write, direct and produce a film for the SSA entitled “Our Man in Your Hometown.”
From 1970 to 1980 Harris also worked as an independent audio-visual producer, photographer and film director. During this time he worked for clients such as Alcoa, Gulf Oil, American Express, Magee Women’s Hospital, Rutgers University, University of Pittsburgh, U.S. Department of Health, and Business Week Magazine.
In 1980, Harris began work with Koppers Company, Inc. Between 1980 and 1986 he was a manager in the Communications Group where he produced films and workshops for other managers and took photographs. In 1986 he became Coordinator of Productivity Improvement, where he served as speech writer for the president of the company and produced top management presentations. Harris continued with Koppers even after the 1988 takeover by the Beazer Group where he worked as a consultant for the new owners. Harris also worked with other local businesses at this time.
A personal passion of Harris' was cycling. He photographed the sport extensively, especially BMX and road racing, in which his son (Mat) was a professional rider. In 1984, Harris co-founded “Pittsburgh Pro Sports,” one of the city’s most popular cycling shops. In 1991 he became president of the newly formed sports marketing company, Pittsburgh Velosports, where he was the co-founder of the Thrift Drug Classic. The 108-mile bicycle race through Pittsburgh was a major race, and was won by Lance Armstrong prior to his Tour de France success. Some of these images overlap into personal work. Since cycling was intertwined with his career these images have been kept in the collection. On June 30, 2010, a city park cycling track was named in his honor on Washington Boulevard.
Some of his honors and awards include: Honorary Member: Phi Delta Epsilon Journalism Fraternity for teaching; National Award: Communications Arts Annual “Years best Photography in Annual Report Category” for Magee-Women’s Hospital; Three-time winner of “Best of Show Award”: Three Rivers Arts Festival; “Special Merit Award”: International Association of Business Communicators; Golden Quill Award: Best TV spot in Category for St. Peters Child Development Center; ACE Award: Public service TV spot in Category for the University of Pittsburgh; Photo Maxima: Selected twice for inclusion in the international photo exhibit; “Race Across America,” Camera man for the film directed by Joe Pytka.
Harris passed away on June 15, 2009.