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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Harland P. Nasvik

Dates:  1908, 28 February - 1993, 23 October
Born:  US, MN, St. Paul
Died:  US, MN, Minnetonka

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Harland P. Nasvik
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Born on February 28, 1908, Nasvik grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. He began making sports photographs for money in about 1927, as an economics major at Luther College (Decorah, Iowa), and graduated from there in 1931.
From 1935 to 1940, he worked in the photographic services department of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and then moved to Durham, New Hampshire. For the next three years, he did freelance work and taught photography and ran the photo-visual department at the University of New Hampshire. Back in the Twin Cities in 1943, he worked during World War II at Honeywell. In 1947, he began as an advertising photographer at General Mills, and five years later became head of photography there. Until his retirement in 1973, Nasvik oversaw the department’s color and black-and-white work for packaging, cookbooks, and advertising, as well as doing portrait and scientific work.
In August 1973, a few months after leaving General Mills, Nasvik set up (with his wife, Betty) Harland’s Camera Graphics, in Wayzata, a suburb of Minneapolis. They performed consulting and services for major industries in advertising, commercial, and portrait photography. Nasvik was admired for his skills at lighting food in the studio, a topic on which he wrote for the May 1977 issue of Professional Photographer. Long involved with the Professional Photographers’ of America, Nasvik was designated its prestigious master photographer status in 1981. In 1984, the Nasviks presented an exhibition of their work spanning six decades at Harland’s alma mater, Luther College.
Nasvik produced pictorial work and was involved with other committed amateurs primarily during the 1930s. He joined the Minneapolis Camera Club in 1937, served on its salon committee, and was elected its vice president the next year. In 1938, he joined the Photographic Society of America, which accepted one of his pictures in its 1942 salon. Among the amateur monthlies that reproduced his work were Photo-Art Monthly (May 1936) and Camera (October 1938 and September 1942). The U.S. Camera Annual also included one of his images in 1940.
Nasvik successfully sent his prints to photographic salons from the mid-1930s to the early 1940s. His work was accepted in Minneapolis in 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939, and 1941. Salons elsewhere included Chicago, Durham, Kent (Ohio), Pittsburgh, and San Francisco, plus the showing at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Harland P. Nasvik died in Minnetonka, Minnesota, on October 23, 1993. 
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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