Bissell, Gardiner P. (Portland)

Gardiner P. Bissell (1880-1949) (Portland)

He moved to Portland sometime around 1900 and worked as a streetcar conductor and a steam roller operator. In 1903 he got a job as an artist at the Oregonian. After six years of drawing, around 1909, he began photography. After working twelve years for the Oregonian, in 1915, he moved to the Evening Telegram. Around 1934, he became a freelance photographer.

One story he told was about his assignment to get a night picture of crowds waiting for the election returns outside the old Oregonian building. “This was in the days before flash bulbs” he remembered, “So we built a special tripod out of boiler plate to hold the powder. The powder pan was over-charged and blew up like a cannon shot, shattering windows up and down the street. But the picture was good.”

He photographed many aviation pioneers who passed through Portland, including Charles A. Lindbergh, Wiley Post, Amelia Earhart, Col. Roscoe Turner and Richard E. Bird. He won first prize in a national photography contest in 1941. As a freelancer, he was the official photographer of the Junior Rose Festival court until 1948, He died on June 24, 1949. A portrait of him was published that day by the Oregon Journal.