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Nanking

  • Kind of Object:
    Book
  • Name:
    Nanking
  • Creator (Person):
    Hedda Morrison
  • Year Start:
    1944
  • Year End:
    1945
  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    Verlag von Max Noessler & Co., 331 Foochow Road (now Fuzhou Lu, Huangpu Qu) Shanghai

  • City:
    Shanghai (CN)
  • Introduction:

    Nanking is a photobook containing 200 pictures taken in and around Nanking by the German photographer Hedda Morrison (née Hammer) and texts by Alfred Hoffmann. It was published in Shanghai in 1945 by Max Noessler & Co.

    Word Count: 36

  • Content:

    The Nanking photobook has twelve chapters with 200 photographs of landscapes, historic sites and buildings, city views, garden architecture, sculptures, plants and trees and people, all located in or around Nanking (Nanjing). Turning the pages, the reader is treated to images of quiet landscapes and gardens or lively streets and market scenes. The photographic gaze wanders over the roofs and hills and turns to individual scenes, still keeping its distance.
    While the city is known for the Nanking Massacre by the Japanese occupiers in 1937, Morrison's photographs evoke a rather timeless image of Nanjing. Only a few images show modern architecture and infrastructure, only a few pictures show modern architecture and infrastructure, only from a few of the photographed people look directly into the camera. The preface states that photography and text complement each other, but where the photographs speak for themselves and could to a greater or lesser extent speak for China in general, a text was omitted.
    The accompanying texts were written by German sinologist Alfred Hoffmann and offer mainly descriptions of the historical sites and brief glimpses into the dynastic history. Contemporary history is only discussed in passing. However, repeated mention is made of the massacre of the Nanjing population perpetrated by the Taping rebels in 1853.
    The book was published by Max Noessler & Co, a publishing house that was used by the newly-established German Information Bureau for such works as Sapajou's Shanghai Album and also published books by Elgar Randow, who worked at the German Embassy in Beijing, as Consul General in Shanghai, as well as doing work for the German Information Bureau in Shanghai.
    Before emigrating to China, Hedda Morrison studied at the 1930 Bäyerische Staatslehranstalt für Lichtbildwesen (Bavarian State Institute for Photography) in Munich and did voluntary work for the sculptor Adolf Lazi in Stuttgart before moving to Hamburg. Due to her Jewish origins and the political development in Nazi Germany she applied for a job in Beijing, where she started work at Hartung’s Photoshop. In 1938 her contract ended, and she worked as a freelancer. She sold photographs and albums as souvenirs to foreigners.
    In 1940, she met her future husband Alastair Gwynne Morrison (1916–2009). He worked for the British Military and the Colonial Service and, as a journalist. In Beijing Hedda Morrison made acquaintance with the British art dealer Caroline Francis Bieber with whom she would maintain a fruitful working relationship.
    Testimony to this is provided by the joint publication Chinese household furniture in 1948. Bieber was connected to the Brooklyn Museum where an exhibition of Morrison’s photographs was held in 1949.
    From 1933 to 1967, she travelled widely throughout China and Indonesia where she and her husband lived for two decades. Morrison worked part time for the Sarawak government in the photographic section of the Information Office in Kuching and created further photobooks, such as Sarawak (1957) or Life in a Longhouse (1962).
    Besides historical sites and landscapes she was intersted in photographing people, customs and handicraft. Her photographs oscillate between ethnographical observation and evocative imagery. Other than the work of the photographers Eva Siao or Ellen Thorbecke her work is acknowledged by a wider audience. In 1955 her photographs were included in the famous exhibition The Family of Man at the MoMA in New York which then travelled in different version to several countries around the world. In 1967, she emigrated with her husband to Australia, where she died in 1992.

    Word Count: 560

  • Signature Image:
    Hoffmann, Alfred and Morrison, Hedda. Nanking, Max Noessler & Co, Shanghai 1945, cover.
  • Media:
    Hoffmann, Alfred and Morrison, Hedda. Nanking. Max Noessler & Co, Shanghai 1945, p. 96–97.
    Morrison, Hedda. Travels of a Photographer in China 1933–1946. Oxford University Press, 1987, cover.
    Morrison, Hedda. Sarawak. Macgibbon & Kee, 1957, cover.
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Hoffmann, Alfred and Hedda Morrison. Nanking. Max Noessler & Co, Shanghai 1945.
    Hedda Morrison. Travels of a Photographer in China. Oxford 1987
    Hedda Morrison. A Photographer in Peking. Oxford 1986
    Roberts, Claire. “In Her View: Hedda Morrison's Photographs of Peking 1933-46.” East Asian History, no.4, pp. 81–104.

    Word Count: 43

  • Archives and Sources:

    Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY
    Harvard-Yenching Library, Cambridge, MA
    National Library of Australia, Canberra
    National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
    Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
    Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia

    Word Count: 24

  • Author:
    Mareike Hetschold
  • Depicted sites:

    Nanjing

  • Metropolis:
    Shanghai
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Mareike Hetschold. "Nanking." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2952/object/5140-11798369, last modified: 14-09-2021.
  • Emma Bormann
    Artist

    Emma Bormann was a pioneering artist and printmaker. Her oeuvre gives witness to her extensive travels around the globe and to the agility and versatility of her artistic rendering of the urban sites she encountered.

    Word Count: 35

    Emma Bormann, Shanghai from YMCA, wood or lino cut, around 1940 (© private collection).
    Emma Bormann, Deutsches Eck [German Corner], wood or lino cut, around 1949 (© private collection).Emma Bormann, Ex Libris Fritz Maas, around 1940, Shanghai (© private collection).Emma Bormann, Great Western Road, wood or lino cut, around 1940 (© private collection).Emma Bormann, Mei Lanfang, wood or lino cut, around 1940 (© private collection).Emma Bormann, Garden Bridge, woodcut or linocut, around 1940, Shanghai (© private collection).Emma Bormann, Foochow Road, wood or lino cut, around 1940, Shanghai (© private collection).Church Missionary Society House, 89 Range Road, Shanghai, around 1915 (© 2008 Peter Lockhart Smith, University of Bristol, Historical Photographs of China, www.hpcbristol.net).
    Shanghai