Erik Overbey (1882-1977), a native of Hafslo, Sogn, Norway, operated a photographic studio in Mobile, Alabama, from 1903 to 1958. During that time he chronicled the life of the city in thousands of ways.
Overbey used an 8x10 view camera until the late 1940s, and a 5x7 thereafter. His work was straight and clean, and he probably thought of himself as a craftsman rather than an artist. Although he made thousands of portraits, he was in his element as an industrial photographer. Using form and mass, he composed to make the commonplace extraordinary.
Perhaps in hopes of reprint business, Overbey purchased the negative collection of an earlier studio, W. A. Reed. As a result, the Overbey Collection includes negatives which date back to the 1880s -- making it an important archive for modern historians.