Berta Hallgren was a versatile photographer who had several students. She was not only a talented portrait photographer but also produced skilful advertising and industrial report photography.
Berta Hallgren was born in Västervik in 1876. In 1926 she married Verner Heliodorus Eriksson. Her photographic career had begun in 1901 when she worked as an assistant to Karl Strömbäck in Falköping. As with many other photographers at this time – both female and male – she served as an apprentice and worked at various places across Sweden. For example in 1900 she lived in Västervik, the next year she was in Falköping, she then returned to Västervik from 1902–1907, after which she moved to Skara where she stayed from 1908–1910, and then moved to Mora in 1910. In Mora she took on K.G. Wiborgh’s photographic studio on the corner of Strandgatan and Kaplansgatan, a business she ran until 1939 when she finally gave up professional photography.
Berta Hallgren also ran a sister branch of her business in Leksand, from around 1916–1925. The Leksand photography shop was then taken over by Margit Karlsson, who ran it as Berta Hallgrens Eftr. (successor) until all the already printed calling cards ran out, at which point Karlsson renamed the shop using her own name. Berta Hallgren was an esteemed and talented photographer who took on several students. Rull Selma Danielsson from Vika studied with Berta Hallgren in Mora in 1910. Danielsson was initially tasked with accompanying and assisting Berta Hallgren when producing photographs to commemorate Anders and Emma Zorn’s silver wedding anniversary on 16 October 1910. The aforenoted Margit Karlsson was also a former student of Berta Hallgren’s, at Leksand in 1915. Yet another student was Ruth Zaida Elisabet Hellman, from Stockholm, who studied with Berta Hallgren in Mora from 1917–1918.
Berta Hallgren was a highly qualified teacher. One year’s tuition with her cost her students 200 Swedish kronor each. At that time it was quite usual to study with an established photographer and Berta Hallgren had learned her trade the same way when she served as an apprentice with Gerda Söderlund in Leksand.
Berta Hallgren was a very talented professional photographer. In addition to taking portrait pictures she also produced advertising photographs as well as industrial report photography. She documented the everyday life of the local Mora population and she also travelled around in Sweden taking pictures of churches. She also specialised in postcard photography. Despite Berta Hallgren’s delicate and small physique she had no difficulty in climbing up narrow church spires whilst carrying her heavy photographic equipment.
Berta Hallgren died in Mora in 1960.