This oral history interview with Al Monner was conducted by Donald J. Sterling at Monner's home in Portland, Oregon, from February 25 to March 4, 1993. The interview was conducted in two sessions.
In the first interview session, conducted on February 25, 1993, Monner discusses his family background and early life on a farm in Kaskela, Oregon, including his education, his sister, and his recreational activities. He then talks about moving to Portland in 1923, his high school education, and his early interest in photography. He speaks about working for a public library, attending Linfield College, and working as a developer and photographer for Brubaker Aerial Surveys. He discusses working for Photo Art Studio, his friendship with Ray Atkeson, and his involvement with the Wy'east Climbers.
In the second interview session, conducted on March 4, 1993, Monner revisits the topics of his family background, and working as a developer and photographer for Brubaker Aerial Surveys. He speaks about his early career as a photographer for the Oregonian newspaper and describes his photography equipment. He then discusses his career as a photographer for the Oregon Journal newspaper, his photography equipment, and some of his assignments. He also talks about his freelance work, as well as photography he did for himself; photographers he worked with, including Minor White; and his involvement with the Mazamas and mountain climbing. He speaks about his marriage to Catherine Elizabeth Gnadinger, and about his children, their careers, and their families. He speaks at length about photographing Portland's Romani community and Native Americans. He then talks about Catherine Elizabeth Monner's death in 1961 and his retirement activities. He closes the interview by discussing famous people and events that he photographed.