by Madison V. Fisler
Sept. 3, 2013. Hugh Morton was a well known photographer who was known not only for the quality of his photographs, but the quantity as well. Morton’s negatives were estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands, many of them representing the High Country and published in various magazines, books, newspapers and more.
Morton’s photographs are well known, but there are some that have been seen very rarely.
On Friday, Sept. 6, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts will host an opening celebration for the exhibit Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective. This exhibit will showcase many of the little-seen photographs of the famous late photographer.
“Photography was an integral part of his identity,” said Catherine Morton, Hugh’s daughter.
“He started when he was around 11 years old and most people can’t remember him without a camera in his hand. He saw things that other people didn’t see, visually speaking. He would notice animals and flowers and trees, landscapes and patterns and things of interest that other people didn’t always see. His ability to capture those things was part of his photography.”
The subjects of the rarely-seen photographs in the exhibit are varied.
“There’s a lot of things that have to do with the history of North Carolina during my father’s lifetime,” Morton said.
“There are governors, senators, civil war monuments, Cherokee dancers, and some in particular focus on the faces of old mountain people that have so much character in the deep lines of their faces and so much age and wisdom in their eyes that he was able to capture.”
The process of getting this exhibit up and running was a long one.
“The first step was getting the negatives to Chapel Hill and then came the process of archiving them,” Morton said. “Now we have received a grant that was specifically for framing and exhibiting the photographs . We hope that after this exhibit the pictures will be able to travel to different locations.”
The opening celebration will coincide with the September First Friday Art Crawl on King Street. There will also be a panel discussion on Saturday, Oct. 6 which will feature Woody Durham, Betty McCain and Jack Hillard.
The celebration is, as always, free and open to the public.
The Turchin Center is located at 423 West King Street in Boone.
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