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Madison Public Library offering free family portrait photos with community photographer Hedi Rudd


There are very few people who have captured community photos in Madison with the eye and with the talent like Hedi Rudd has over the years … over the decades, actually.

In her latest endeavor, Rudd will be capturing photos of families and loved ones at Madison public libraries across the city for free. For the next couple of months, the Madison Public Library invites families from the Madison area to the Goodman South Madison, Hawthorne and Meadowridge libraries to get a free family portrait.

“This is going to be incredible because it’s going to give people access that might not have had access in the past. For me, being a community photographer, this is like front and center of who I am,” Rudd tells Madison365.

Hedi Rudd
(Photo by Marcus Miles)

Rudd will be available to take free family photos at Meadowridge Library, 5726 Raymond Rd., on Saturdays, Feb. 4 & 18, 2-4 p.m.; Goodman South Madison Library, 2222 S. Park St., on Saturdays, March 11 and 25, 2-4 p.m.; and at Hawthorne Library, 2707 E. Washington Ave., on Saturdays, April 8 & 22, 2-4 p.m.

“Most of the work that I do is in the community and to the extent that I do portrait work, I try to do it in a way that most of the people that I work with portrait-wise are people I know,” Rudd says. “I don’t really do a lot of marketing myself that way because there’s only so much time. So to be able to be to do this in a way that still kind of speaks to my nonprofit roots — a lot of my clients and the people I work with are nonprofit-based — that’s important to me.

“Making it financially attractive to the people I work with in the nonprofit world but also making it accessible for folks in the community — that’s a win-win,” she adds. “I like that it is targeted to BIPOC people but also that there are not any restrictions so that other folks that want to participate but can’t afford their photo, can participate. That special emphasis, I think, is super important.”

Community members who come in for photo sessions can feel free to bring along anyone in their family (or who they might see as family) for a 10-minute photo session with Rudd over the next two months.

“The hope was that we would have our 3rd Eye Collective crew for these photography sessions,” Rudd says. The 3rd Eye Collective is a group of photography businesses, with headquarters on Monroe St., that are each independently owned by women of color. “Although I’m going to be booked up on some of those dates, and it will allow for some opportunity for my other teammates to step into some of the stuff that I do if I’m not available. 

“It’s something that I’m really looking forward to …. being able to do some portrait work, but in a community mindset, is awesome. To work with the library is also pretty awesome,” she adds.

BIPOC families are especially encouraged to register for these photo sessions, but all families are welcome.

“One of the things I like about where we are right now in the world is that there are digital places where our photos can be stored,” Rudd says. “Because I look back on my life, and I’ve moved so many times that I’ve lost some photos. I’ve left the state and have had to leave everything behind and in the process, I’ve lost photos and that’s something that really stays with you …. that is really painful.

 “I like that we now have things available digitally so that they’re not necessarily gone forever … there’s a way of getting back to them,” she adds. “But this is also the opportunity to give a family a photo that they can print and hang on their wall … and I love that. I think it’s also a benefit for people to have that memory of that time that they had to together as a family at the photo shoot. So, overall, I just think it’s such a cool opportunity to retain those memories because those are super important.”

Rudd says that there will be about a two-week turnaround time for family portraits after she takes the pictures. Photos are for personal use only. The library asks that you refrain from bringing props, logos or other items for promotional purposes.

For more information, click here.