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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Monroe P. Killy

Dates:  1910, 28 October - 2010, 16 January
Born:  US, MN, Minneapolis
Died:  US

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Monroe P. Killy
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Monroe P. Killy was born on October 28, 1910, in Minneapolis, where he spent most of his life. He worked briefly as an electrician and then in 1936 was hired by the local Eastman Kodak store. During World War II, he was in the U.S. Army, but returned to his old job afterwards, staying there until 1972. He was a salesman for another photographic firm for a few years and then retired in 1977.
Killy was active in the Minneapolis Photographic Society, sometimes judging its monthly competitions and in 1938 serving as it vice president. In 1932, the first Minneapolis Salon of Photography accepted one of his pictures, which the local paper reproduced in its rotogravure section on December 4. The three subsequent Minneapolis salons also included his work.
Killy’s image On Time uses a motif common among pictorialists since Stieglitz’s time—a locomotive charging out of a rail yard. The dramatically lit clouds and billowing smoke helped this picture get into a number of exhibitions; there are labels on the back of its mount for the Kodak International Salon (Harrow, England, 1935), Minneapolis Photographic Society Salon (1939), the New York World’s Fair (Kodak Building, 1939), and the Minnesota State Fair (1940).
The other picture by Killy in the museum’s collection, however, is much more visually challenging. It shows a wooden crate for eggs (with only one present), seen at an angle and from above, with strong light patterns. Killy emphasized his modernist intent by solarizing one corner of the image, but no exhibition labels appear on the back, suggesting it may have been too unusual for most salon juries. Monroe P. Killy died in January 16, 2010, nine months shy of turning one hundred years old. 
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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