The Festival of the Agincourt Revolution Award Dinner
The Gardener: Rolf Hedden
At present she’s in the process of completing her fourth book, 90 Years, by collecting stories of less well-known women whose accomplishments have been ignored by history. Her fifth book, to be titled a decade of female writing. Recently The Gardener traveled from his base in northeastern Germany to the tristate area and did a series of portraits of female political figures of New York state and beyond at a gala fashion and activism event sponsored by New Voices in Textiles. Hedden is one of the world’s foremost authorities on 18th-century photography. His works include “The School of Sardinia,” an album that captures the voyage of the Navigara Dancer from Sicily, Belen, to the Pacific Island of Tokoroa in 1777-78. Hedden’s photographs and text will be part of The San Francisco Chronicle’s “Ask the Photographer” series in early May, but he is also scheduled to discuss his studies of class and class differences as reflected in his unique lens on Italian girls in an April 27 appearance at the American Art Museum. Hedden’s photos are on display in “Class Differences: Gentle Sculpture by the Tariffs” and in “Liberty of Portraits: The Photography of Hildegard von Bingen” at the American Art Museum through May 28.
The documentary portrait photographer Rolf Hedden recently took a refreshingly straight-forward approach to his current residency in New York, providing snapshots of our city’s growing women and photographers under the enticingly titled, 90 Years, by collecting lesser-known stories from across the country and beyond.
He also collaborated with New Voices in Textiles to capture the women behind their words in conversation at a private dinner at Osteria Morini in Flatiron earlier this month, co-hosted by Hedden and Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who celebrates her 90th birthday today.
Hedden says that the event was a natural outgrowth of an ongoing collaboration with the fashion and textiles museum in Cleveland. The former must-see interpreter of German dialect is now working to change the way society portrays and views women’s contribution to the century-long social and political uprisings that still characterize our nation’s modern history.
His subjects include among other, his prior collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning author James L. A. Comey, a friend and neighbor from Germany, to explore how she navigated the characters that defined her coming of age, including “the antipode to Edith Wharton.” He followed their travels through 15 states, from California to Kentucky, across the Ohio River and into Virginia. Together, Hedden and Comey found stories involving kings, aristocrats, free thinkers, rebels, striving inventors, and others. In letters of gratitude that Comey included in his own book, Cascades of Conversation, they wrote, “we gained insight into our own nature, and into the paradoxes, ambiguities, and complexities of our time and place.”
The fact that Hedden didn’t find the focus of his residence narrow didn’t prevent him from turning his focus on the women in his tour, including four who made it to the podium in a banquet room and engaged him, expressing their views and opinions on a range of subjects.
One of the women was clinical psychologist Annette Haefner, who discussed her writing style and wrote lyrics for a long-lost opera by a male composer who never composed. “The Voice” will have its final performance tonight at 8, March 20 at 8 p.m. in New York City and on May 7 at 2 p.m.
[Courtesy of Getty Images]