Skip to main content

Hedda Morrison
, 1941 (printed 2004)

by Alastair Morrison

type C photograph from an original negative (sheet: 50.8 cm x 40.5 cm, image: 40.5 cm x 31.1 cm)

Hedda Morrison, née Hammer (1908-1991), photographer, was born in Stuttgart and studied at the Bavarian State Institute for Photography in Munich before securing a job as manager of a German-owned commercial photography studio in Peking. Having worked there between 1933 and 1938, she remained in China as a freelance photographer, taking thousands of shots that now afford a fascinating record of pre-revolutionary architecture and streetscapes, craftspeople at work, street vendors, costumes and religious and folk customs. In 1946, as political tensions escalated, Hedda married intelligence analyst Alastair Morrison, son of the famous George Ernest Morrison, Peking correspondent for the Times of London. The couple left China for Hong Kong later that year. For twenty years they lived in Sarawak, before moving to Australia in 1967 and settling in Canberra. Morrison's views of Peking were shown at the new Menzies Library of the Australian National University in the winter of 1967. Alasdair Morrison, a keen birdwatcher who lived in Canberra to the last, donated his wife's multitudinous photographs of the places they had visited and lived in to the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, the Harvard-Yenching Library of Harvard University and several other Australian and international institutions.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of Alastair Morrison 2004
Accession number: 2004.16