Monday, March 07, 2011

A Photographer in Old Peking

I just got this wonderful out of print book through I was revisiting some of my old books to prepare for my talk at the South Carolina School Library Association and spent some time with Chinese Traditional Bookbinding by Edward Martinique. He had some illustrations from a magazine article by Hedda Morrison that appeared in the Canadian Geographical Journal in December 1949. I wasn't able to track down the article but did find her book, A Photographer in Old Peking.

Hedda Morrison was raised in Germany and in 1933, at age 25, went to Beijing to manage Hartungs Photo Studio. She lived and worked in China until 1946 and recorded the time and place through her black and white photographs. She photographed temples and palaces, street life, art and crafts, and food and entertainment in Beijing and also ventured further afield in China. In the book-related department, there are pictures of papermaking, bookmaking and selling, seal carving. The photographs are introduced by her straightforward text which gives a sense of the world she saw around her and reading between the lines, the open and intrepid spirit that she brought to her life in this foreign city.

Two places to learn about Hedda Morrison and her work are the websites of:

The Powerhouse Museum
in Sydney, Australia

Harvard-Yenching Library in Cambridge, MA

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