Photographs, proofs, transparencies, and negatives of Milton "Hal" Halberstadt
commericial and artistic photography. Personal and business correspondence relating to his life as a
photographer. Papers include business ledgers and records, teaching slides and notes. Correspondence and
memorabilia from 1936-2000.
Milton Halberstadt (1919-2000) had an illustrious career in fine art and commercial photography that spanned
seven decades and left a body of work covering genres from abstract art to commercial photography. Milton
Halberstadt, better known as Hal, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He began his career as a photographer
there in 1936. He worked for Creative Photographers (1936-1937), Bachrach's (1938-1939) and Garfield
& Newcomb Studio gaining extensive technical expertise. At one point during this time, he
photographed the streets of Boston for the Works Progress Administration and Boston Housing. His creativity
with photography awarded him a Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship to the School of Design in Chicago in
1940. Led by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, a renowned Hungarian artist, Moholy became very influential in M.
Halberstadt's life. During his years in Chicago, he assisted Moholy and Gyorgy Kepes in the printing of
their photographs and photographing their work. It was during this time that Halberstadt became an expert in
developing photographs. World War II interrupted this emerging career. In 1943, he trained as a navigator.
He was the navigator for a B-24 bomber, which flew 11 missions over south-central Europe and the Balkans.
Struck down over Yugoslavia, Halberstadt, though severely injured safely navigated the plane until it landed
in Italy. For his valor, he received the Armed Forces' Distinguished Flying Cross for safely landing the
plane and saving the lives of the pilot and one other airman. After World War II, Halberstadt, with his
family, moved to San Francisco, opening a large format photography studio, M. Halberstadt Illustration
(1945-1973). As the premier food photographer on the west coast, he changed how food was photographed and
used in print. He has been called brilliant by his peers who included, Ansel Adams, Minor White, Imogen
Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, and Edward Weston. During his 28 years of business, he created campaigns for Del
Monte Foods, Ralston Purina, Kaiser, Spice Island, Dole, Paul Masson Vineyards, Royal Viking Lines, Qantas
and the Olive Advisory Board, Dairy Advisory Board, and the Beef Advisory Board. He wallpapered his walls
with his awards. The studio had a kitchen for food preparation, darkrooms, and a huge "prop loft" for the
items that were used in the photography. He worked extensively with Maggie Waldron, skillfully styling food
to create the best photographs possible. Halberstadt taught many classes on photography while he had his
studio in San Francisco as well as after closing the studio. He gave private classes in the United States
and Canada. He taught both with Ansel Adams in Yosemite and for the Ansel Adams Gallery. After closing his
studio in 1973, he continued to teach classes at University of California, Berkeley, University of
California Santa Cruz, California State University, San Francisco and the University of Oregon. Information
about Milton Halberstadt appears in Warren, Lynne. Encyclopedia of Twentieth-century
Photography 2006. Comer, Stephanie The Moment of Seeing: Minor White at the California
School of Fine Arts Chronicle Books 2006. B&W Magazine Millenium Issue #5
February, 2000. Court, Arthur. Minerals; Nature's Fabulous Jewels Photography by Milton
Halberstadt 1974. Kepes, Gyorgy. Language of Vison (Halberstadt is credited as Halbe) 1961,
and The Editors of Time-Life Books, The Studio. Milton Halberstadt Died on June 26, 2000.
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publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections.
Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections, University of
California, Library, Davis as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.