On September 21, 1946, German-born photographer Hedwig Marie “Hedda” Morrison arrived with her husband in Hong Kong, aboard the Hanyang, after spending 13 years in Beijing, where she had found an affinity with the Chinese. The couple would remain in the colony for only six months, but Morrison would leave behind a unique and wide-ranging photographic record. Morrison was known for her lifelong gritty resolve, much like that mirrored in a stoic shopkeeper she had photographed in Hong Kong, a woman little older than Morrison herself. That September afternoon, after making landfall at Waglan, an island to the southeast of Hong Kong, the Hanyang had threaded the narrow gap at Lei Yue Mun. To port and starboard, respectively, were Shau Kei Wan’s fishing junk anchorage on Hong Kong Island and a war-denuded Devil’s Peak in Kowloon. Morrison would later take detailed, almost topographical, photos of both places. As the Hanyang proceeded up-harbour that day, Morrison’s gaze took in Quarry Bay and Swire’s Taikoo Dockyard, then Causeway Bay, onto HMS Tamar, where above the naval base stood Victoria Barracks – the site today of the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre. Nearing Central, the Hanyang slowed, and the endless vibrations felt from propeller revolutions eased. The war had left Central, as well as Kowloon across the harbour, hollowed out. Morrison’s studies would show decay, the damage of conflict, but do not give any sense of outright devastation. Nonetheless, life for many in Hong Kong was dire . In 1946, the government was providing daily rations for 25,000 people. In 1947, some 9,000 children were homeless. Amid the rapidly increasing population, such statistics found human meaning in Morrison’s images of grimy, homeless families, of ragged, sleeping street dwellers. But throughout, she managed to capture a broader aesthetic of the city at that time and place. The September sun was sinking over Lantau Island as the Hanyang nosed up to her midstream mooring. The engines went astern, then stilled. Near the shore, mast tops of a sunken ship were visible, as seen in Morrison’s photo taken from the Hanyang, dramatically framed by a swung-out lifeboat. Directly ashore, lay the workaday promenade, or “praya”, where hawkers and labourers made their rice-bowl earnings. Their futures at the time were uncertain, but Hong Kong’s recovery was under way. The post-war populace’s resilience would fuel a resurgence that would turn the British colony into one of Asia’s richest, and eventually, most dynamic port cities. Photos taken by Hedda Morrison are being shown at the “Recovery, Resilience, Resurgence” exhibition, which is presented by the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre, originated by the Photographic Heritage Foundation, and curated by Edward Stokes. The exhibition runs until June 6 at the Chantal Miller Gallery, Asia Society Hong Kong Centre, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty. Admission is free. For more information, visit asiasociety.org/hong-kong. This is an accredited event celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.