Erna & Victor

Everyone who ever interacted with Erna and Victor Hasselblad was struck by how much the two belonged together.

As Victor’s constant support system, Erna was by his side from the very beginning – from opening Victor’s Foto shop together in Gothenburg to the first workshop where the Hasselblad we know today started.

© Lennart Nilsson/TT Nyhetsbyrån


Born on 27 July 1914, Erna Nathhorst (as was her name before marrying Victor Hasselblad) grew up in Falun, Sweden before the family relocated to Stockholm. At the young age of 19, with just a bit of luck, Erna and Victor met. As the story goes, it was Erna’s sister Birgit that Victor was smitten with. With Victor living in Gothenburg, Birgit had purchased train tickets for a weekend to travel from Stockholm to see him. Suddenly falling ill right before the trip, Birgit was unable leave her bed; instead of letting the tickets go to waste, Erna decided to go down to Gothenburg in her place. That was in 1933 around the Christmas holidays. On 19 June 1934, Erna and Victor were married at Seglora Church in Stockholm.


With Erna, Victor opened his own photography shop and lab, Victor Foto, in 1937. Lending a helping hand to the business, Erna handled all the bookkeeping. She was Victor’s down-to-earth, business-minded partner that kept him focused on achieving his vision of making his own cameras. When Victor started up his workshop to begin production of the HK-7 aerial camera, Erna was always there, taking as much interest in the different cogs and wheels of the process as the engineers working with the parts. As the company grew, she was by Victor’s side at all events, whether that meant being a representative or host for Hasselblad.

© Lennart Nilsson/TT Nyhetsbyrån


After Victor Hasselblad’s passing on 5 August 1978, it was 5 years later on 8 July 1983 that Erna passed on as well. The memory of the pair lives on through the Erna and Victor Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg, Sweden.


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