After graduating from high school in Compton, Guy Crowder enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, serving from 1957-1963. During his military years he developed an interest in photography. His professional career began in 1960 as a staff photographer for Your Community Studio in Los Angeles. In 1974, Los Angeles Supervisor Kenneth Hahn asked Crowder to work for him, making Crowder the first African American to be employed by the Board of Supervisors. Crowder maintained his own studio and employed as many as three photographers in his shop. Crowder, or one of his photographers routinely worked seven days a week on assignments. The Guy Crowder collection consists of photographs of black politicians, athletes, and celebrities and includes images of nearly every African American of any importance who passed through Los Angeles and Las Vegas during his career.