Hedda Morrison

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Hedda Morrison
Born Hedda Hammer
13 December 1908
Stuttgart, Germany
Died 1991 (aged 82)
Canberra, Australia
Nationality German
Education Bäyerische Staatslehranstalt für Lichtbildwesen, Munich, Germany
Known for Documentary photography
Spouse(s) Alastair Morrison (1946-1991, her death)

Hedda Morrison (1908-1991) was a German photographer who created memorable documentary images of Beijing, Hong Kong and Sarawak from the 1930s to the 1960s.


Born Hedda Hammer in Stuttgart, 13 December 1908, she studied at the State Institute for Photography (Bäyerische Staatslehranstalt für Lichtbildwesen) in Munich. Not finding the political or economic situation in Germany to her liking, in 1933 she took up a position at Hartung's, a German-owned commercial photographic studio in the old Legation Quarter of the city then known as Peiping. During her time in Beijing she took many photographs of the old city and its people, temples and markets, mostly using a Rolleiflex medium-format camera.

In 1940 she met Alastair Morrison, son of the famous George Ernest Morrison, the influential London Times correspondent in Peking. They married in 1946 and left China shortly afterwards, first for Hong Kong and then to Sarawak, where Alastair became a government district officer. During her 20-year stay in Sarawak, Hedda accompanied her husband on official journeys and also made numerous independent photographic tours. She wrote two major books on Sarawak, Sarawak (1957) and Life in a Longhouse (1962).

In 1967 the Morrisons settled in Canberra, Australia. Hedda died in Canberra in 1991, at the age of 82.

Exhibitions of her works have been mounted by the Australian National University, Canberra, the Canberra Photographic Society, the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, and the National Library of Australia. Many of her images are archived in the Harvard-Yenching Library, Harvard University and at Cornell University, NY. There is a large collection of her German, Asian and Australian work in the Powerhouse Museum.[1]


  • 1957 Sarawark
  • 1962 Life in a Longhouse
  • 1985 A Photographer in Old Peking
  • 1987 Travels of a photographer in China, 1933-1946

Further reading[edit]

  • Edward Stokes, Hedda Morrison's Hong Kong: Photographs & Impressions 1946-47 - (Hong Kong University Press, 2005).
  • George N. Kates, The Years That Were Fat: Peking, 1933-1940 - (Oxford in Asia Paperbacks, 1989).
  • Hedda Morrison, Travels of a Photographer in China, 1933-1946 - (Oxford University Press USA, 1987).
  • Hedda Morrison, A Photographer in Old Peking - (Oxford University Press USA, 1986).
  • Alastair Morrison, Fair Land Sarawak: Some Recollections of an Expatriate Official - (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program Publications, 1993).


  1. ^ "Hedda Morrison: photographic collection", Powerhouse Museum. Retrieved 27 February 2013.

External links[edit]