Photographers of Fargo, North Dakota

Photographs are assuming an increasing value in our society. They are not only valued by families and for genealogical purposes, but increasingly as historical documents that provide information about our past. Most keepers and users of photographs think little about the person behind the camera, the person who captured the image. Yet each photograph is a direct link to the photographer responsible for its being taken. It is with this importance of the photographer in mind that Photographers of Fargo, North Dakota took hold.

The staff at the Institute for Regional Studies Archives wanted to both recognize the contributions of these photographers and document their work for use in reference and cataloging. Knowing when a particular photographer was active assists us in better documenting his or her work and the time period.

What began as several photographer listings taken from city and business directories, done by Frank Vyzralek and M. Eugene Rudd, has evolved into a comprehensive biographical directory of photographers who have practiced their trade in Fargo. John Hallberg, Institute archives associate, eagerly tackled this project. The information presented here is the fruit of his labors over the past several years. He combed city directories, gazetteers, censuses, newspapers, magazines, the Institute's extensive photograph collection, and the Internet. Contact was also made with the families and descendants of several photographers.  We hope our users will enjoy this site and find it useful in their research.

Over 100 Fargo photographers are included, spanning from 1879 to 1979. The first Fargo photographers set out their shingle in 1879, just forty years after the beginning of photography and only seven years after the founding of Fargo. Individuals who were employed in local studios are also given, if known. Some of the biographical information is sketchy, especially in the earlier years when the sources are meager and photographers moved frequently. It appears that some people left the photography business as quickly as they entered it. The entries are listed by photographer or studio name as found imprinted upon photographs, with appropriate cross-references.

We solicit your comments regarding this site, and additional information you may have regarding individual photographers. Such a project will never be complete, only augmented and enhanced.