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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Conn H. Irber

Born: Conn Henry Irber 
Dates:  1911, 21 August - 1982, 20 June
Born:  US, MN, St. Paul
Died:  US, FL, Largo

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Conn H. Irber
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Conn Henry Irber was born on August 21, 1911, in St. Paul, where he later had a car dealership. He was interested in art in high school and took up photography after his wife gave him a camera for Christmas one year.
Irberís work was accepted at the Minneapolis Salon of Photography, 1942-1948 (except 1946) and 1952. Other salons that included his photographs occurred in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Memphis, and Japan. One of his pictures won an award from the Twin Cities Miniature Camera Club, and in 1944 he took an honorable mention in the annual competition run by the magazine American Photography. Keeping good records, he often attached typed labels with full technical information on the backs of his prints, which listed camera, lens, exposure, film, paper, developer, toner, and lighting.
Irber was a member of the St. Paul Camera Club for a short time and then helped found the Pictorialists, a small group devoted to high standards. He served on the jury for two of the Minneapolis salons, as well as the 1947 Minnesota Statewide Salon of Photography, displayed at the University of Minnesota. He appeared on a local television program, aired by KSTP on December 14, 1949, to discuss photographs in that yearís Minneapolis salon.
The April 1949 issue of Camera ran pictures from the previous yearís Minneapolis salon, including one by Irber. This was his Splash of Light, showing a kitchen sink and empty milk bottle illuminated by strong directional light. The caption stated that "Irber lives in an old house which has an ancient sink which was quite photogenic at a certain time in the morning. When making the picture, the milk bottle was placed carefully and drops of water splashed on the side lighted by the sun." The Minneapolis Institute of Arts owns two prints of this image (with alternate titles), different in their size, toning, and mounting.
During the 1950s, Irberís interest in pictorialism waned and he moved to Tampa for business reasons. He retired in 1977 and was residing in Largo, Florida, when he died on June 20, 1982. 
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012) 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 1 June 2013. 
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
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