Parting Shot

Les Duggins at work.
You may have never met Les Duggins (though if you’re a Spartanburg resident, there’s a pretty good chance you have), but you’ve most certainly seen his work. Just turn a few pages of this magazine, and you’ll find his photos.

Duggins recently retired after 14 years as USC Upstate’s official photographer. But his career began long before that. For the past 50 years, Duggins has photographed pretty much everyone who is anyone in the Spartanburg region – and beyond. From The Marshall Tucker Band to National Football League gridiron legends and many others, he has captured Spartanburg’s history through the lens of a camera.

His photography career began in 1973, when he went to work as a staffer for B&B Studio and the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. In 1981, he opened his own photography studio near the city’s east side.

Through a combination of hard work, skill, and customer service, Duggins eventually caught the eye of Spartanburg entrepreneurial leader Jerry Richardson, the founder and former owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

In 1990, Duggins went to work for Richardson’s company Spartan Foods as the manager of the Creative Service Photography Department. He was named one of the Panthers’ team photographers in 1994. Duggins returned to the Herald-Journal in 1999 to serve as photo editor. As anyone who has ever accompanied Duggins on a photo shoot can attest, it seems like everyone in Spartanburg knows and respects him.

In 2009, Duggins joined USC Upstate as the university photographer. For the past 14 years he has captured some of the most iconic images of campus. His work includes the opening of the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg, multiple commencement ceremonies, chancellor investitures, and more. His extensive collection of building, campus beauty, and student images have elevated the story of USC Upstate’s critical role in the region and state.

While Duggins may be officially retired, expect to see him out in the community taking pictures. He’ll be the one hovering at the edge of the action with his cameras around his neck, looking for just the right angle and the best lighting.