About Michael Hartford

Available May 15, 2011: Dad’s Eye View: 52 Family Adventures in the Twin Cities, published by Minnesota Historical Society Press.

The dad’s eye view is a little above and behind the kids’: above, so you can scan the horizon for danger and excitement; behind, because adventures are best led by the kids.” So says writer and amateur photographer Michael Hartford, who has followed his twin boys and their mother up historic water towers, down secret streets, and through Twin Cities landmarks, both lauded and little-known, with vintage camera in hand. over the years, the destinations have changed, from zoos to markets to museums, but the point has remained the same: to play and learn and explore together.

In Dad’s Eye View, Hartford describes fifty-two of his family’s favorite Twin Cities spots—one for each week of the year—and dares other dads (and moms) to explore them with gusto. Shoot sparks at the Bakken Museum, track foxes along the Mississippi River gorge, climb ropes at French Regional Park, and measure your success not by the time it takes you to get in and out but by the number of questions your kids ask: How many books are in this library? Why were mills built here? Seek out adventure and savor it, with Dad’s Eye View along for inspiration.

I am a writer and photographer living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with my wife Kelly and twin sons, Jack and Peter.

My short stories have appeared online at Small Spiral Notebook, Failbetter, and the Summerset Review, among other places, and in print in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Ballyhoo Stories, Going Down Swinging, and Duck & Herring. My story, “Among the Moabites,” was featured on the Pseudopod podcast, episode #98. A current list of my publications can be found here.

I think of photography as an art of subtraction and abstraction, of whittling away the excess until there’s nothing left but lines, light, and shadow. I tend to use black and white film, and older cameras (a Yashica Electro inherited from my mother, a collection of old box cameras from the 1940s and 1950s, and a big 1912 Graflex 4×5 converted to a pinhole). Some of my current cameras are described here.

If you have a comment on something I’ve written, or an interest in one of my pictures, drop me a line or leave a comment on this site. I’d love to hear what you have to say!


Some Rights Reserved

Pictures Creative Commons License Words Creative Commons License
My photographs are covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. You are welcome to copy, distribute, and transmit my photographs, and build upon the work in your own creative efforts, with the following restrictions:

  • You must attribute the work to me (a mention of my name as the original photographer, or a link back to this site, is sufficient)
  • You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  • If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.
The words on this site, including short stories that may be published in the Stories section and book reviews published in the Till human voices wake us section, unless clearly attributed to another author and utilized under traditional copyright fair use or an applicable Creative Commons license, are licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. You may copy, distribute, and transmit my words, but you may not change them or build upon them without permission. This license applies only to pieces published on this site; stories published elsewhere, in print or electronically, are covered under traditional copyright, or by the agreements made between myself and the publisher at the time of publication. This means:

  • You must attribute the work to me (a mention of my name as the original author, or a link back to this site, is sufficient)
  • You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  • You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

As always, if you have any questions, just ask!


  1. Lori Witzel May 20, 2006

    Ooooo, words and pictures…need to read your stories.

    I could RSS your site, but would prefer to link to it on mine — may I? Will help me remember to come and visit more.

  2. Sara Stiles April 12, 2007

    I am trying to contact (Wild) Bill Watkins, and see that his web-site is down, so his e-mail is down, too. Do you have a different e-mail site, or a phone number for him?


  3. manuel June 14, 2007

    came across your site randomly and found a lot of interseting shots and words. Ireally enjoy it, great work. see u soon, bye M

  4. Kerry Weber November 15, 2007

    Yep, you’re right..I’m a recruiter..and, I found you on a Google search.
    Here in Mpls.
    Any chance you’re interested in exploring new career/I.T. opportunities??
    If so, I’d love to talk with you.
    Kerry Weber

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