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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Edwin C. Hirschoff

Dates:  1905, 7 December - 2002, 13 May
Born:  Switzerland, Zurich

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Edwin C. Hirschoff
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Though he was born in Zurich, on December 7, 1905, Hirschoff came to the United States ten years later, and then spent the rest of his life in Minneapolis. He worked as an advertising manager and publicity director for oil and gas companies and in 1947 was a founding partner of Artograph, a company that made equipment for artists and mapmakers, some of which he invented. For about three years in the early 1950s, he was a commercial photographer, with the Minnetonka Yacht Club among his exclusive clients.
Hirschoff’s first acceptance in the Minneapolis Salon of Photography in 1940 signaled his first serious interest in the medium. He also showed in it in 1941, 1946, 1947, 1952, and 1957. During this period, his pictures appeared at a variety of other Minneapolis-based salons, hung at the Dayton’s department store and Walker Art Center. He received three honorable mentions at the 1945 salon sponsored by the Minneapolis YMCA Camera Club, and his work was accepted in Omaha, Nebraska, and Hartford, Connecticut.
Hirschoff originally joined the Gopher Camera Club and the YMCA club. However, he soon desired a group with higher artistic standards, so he helped establish one called, simply, the Pictorialists. In 1957, he was a member of the Minneapolis Color Photo Club, making slides.
Reproductions of Hirschoff’s images appeared in the 1947 Minneapolis salon catalog and on the back cover of Victor C. Smith’s Photography Workbook (1953). As late as 1958, Hirschoff gave a talk titled "Experimental Photography," but by this time music was starting to eclipse photography as his main hobby.
Perhaps his last concerted photographic activity was documenting Minneapolis’s downtown skid row ("Gateway District") in the 1960s, before urban renewal pushed out the bums and razed many of the city’s oldest buildings. The institute’s one print by Hirschoff is his Becalmed, made on a windless sailing cruise off of New York’s Long Island. This blue-toned picture sports a sophisticated composition that balances the fallow sail of one boat looming large in the foreground with another vessel that is small and off in the distance. Though the image is rendered in sharp focus, atmospheric perspective erases the horizon line and softens the overall effect. Edwin C. Hirschoff died on May 13, 2002. 
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. 
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