Photo of the Day

photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum

Four women in Gutach valley Sunday dress, Stuttgart, 1931

August 28th, 2013 by


This photograph is one of about fifty taken by the young Hedda Morrison at the Stuttgart folk festival in 1931. The photographer’s interest in the careful documentation the costumes worn by the participants is particularly evident in the number of shots that show very striking head wear. The women in the photograph are wearing costumes from the Gutach Valley in the Black Forest region of Germany. Their hats are known as Bollenhut. Unmarried women wear hats with red pom-poms and married women, black. The costumes date back to the 1700s and are still worn today at folkloric events.

This photograph is also interesting because of the way that the diagonal of the women’s hats lead the eye to the helmets of the soldiers just visible in the background, creating a striking contrast between the historical and the contemporary. Two soldiers look towards the camera, clearly aware of the photographer. Other photographs from the same event have been published previously on Photo of the Day.

Hedda Morrison, (1908-1991), was born Hedda Hammer in Stuttgart, Germany. She acquired her first camera, a Box Brownie, at the age of 11. In 1929 Hedda enrolled at the State Institute for Photography in Munich. After completing studies at the Institute for Photography she worked in the studio of photographer Adolf Lazi (1884-1955) back in her home town of Stuttgart.

By 1933 Hedda Morrison had left Germany to work in China. In Peking Morrison managed Hartung’s photographic studio from 1933-1938. After her contract expired she continued to work freelance from a small darkroom in her home in Nanchang Street. The young photographer travelled around the city, usually by bicycle, often photographing its inhabitants. These photographs and others can be viewed in the Hedda Morrison Photographic Collection


Photography by Hedda Morrison
Powerhouse Museum Collection

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