Tennyson Schad, owner and founder of LIGHT Gallery, was born on August 12, 1930, in Larchmont, N.Y. Schad attended Williams College and graduated from New York University Law School, with a specialization on First Amendment law. Schad began his law career as an associate with Cravaath, Swaine & Moore, eventually establishing his own firm, Norwick, Schad & Goering and worked as an editorial counsel for Time Inc. It was during this time that Schad met and married photography editor Fern Schad and developed a passion for photography. According to his wife, Schad conceptualized photography as a collectible and decided to open up a gallery to promote this vision. At first, Schad considered photojournalism as the genre to sell, but after being introduced to the works of fine-art photographers such as Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind, Schad decided to devote himself to the market of contemporary fine-art photographers.
In 1971 LIGHT Gallery opened at 1018 Madison Ave at 78th Street in New York City. LIGHT Gallery was the first art gallery dedicated exclusively to the promotion, exhibition, and sale of contemporary photographers and their work. LIGHT is credited with enabling a market for contemporary photography to develop. In 1976 Schad moved the gallery to 724 Fifth Avenue. He hired the last official director of LIGHT, Robert Mann, in 1983 with the mission of liquidating or resurrecting the gallery. LIGHT Gallery closed in 1987, although Shad continued working from home.
In the sixteen years of LIGHT’s existence the gallery represented numerous artists including Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Frederick Sommer, André Kertész, Emmet Gowin, and Garry Winogrand. Moreover, LIGHT influenced an entire generation of gallery directors such as Harold Jones, Peter MacGill, Robert Mann, Laurence Miller, you probably