A “Photographer’s Photographer”

One of the many titles bestowed on Hugh Morton over the years is “the father of North Carolina photojournalism education.” He was a charter member of the National Press Photographers Association and president of the North Carolina Press Photographers Association. Appealing to a broader audience, Morton founded in 1952 the annual Grandfather Mountain Camera Clinic for amateurs and professionals, and the Nature Photography Weekend, also hosted by Grandfather Mountain.

Perhaps most notably, Morton was a founder and the first chairman (1950-1965) of the Southern Short Course in Press Photography. Now known as the Southern Short Course in News Photography, this training program for students and professionals is the country’s longest-running seminar in photojournalism. The images below are from the early years of the Short Course, probably 1951-1953, when it was held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The first image shows Joseph Costa (left, in bow tie), well-known American newspaper photographer, photography lecturer at Ball State University, and a founder of the National Press Photographers Association; the other man presenting (back to camera) appears to be Hugh Morton. Since most audience members are wearing name tags, this image is handy for identification purposes. (Few of the names are legible, however, and none at the resolution presented here.)

Joe Costa (left) and unidentified man (Hugh Morton?) presenting at the Southern Short Course for Press Photography, UNC-Chapel Hill, ca. early 1950s

The next image shows unidentified instructors presenting about darkroom procedure. (Sharp-eyed readers of this blog might notice Burlington photographer Edward J. McCauley in the third row, third seat from the left—see Patrick Cullom’s recent post, A Contemporary of Morton).

Unidentifed instructors presenting at the Southern Short Course for Press Photography, UNC-Chapel Hill, ca. early 1950s

Our blogging compatriot over at the Blue Ridge Blog says, “I’ll always remember Hugh Morton as a photographer’s photographer. He understood the needs of a working photojournalist and went out of his way to make the job easier for us.” Do you have any photojournalism- related memories of Morton to share? Can you provide any information about these early Short Course images?

One thought on “A “Photographer’s Photographer”

  1. Elizabeth:

    I was present at Sculptor Johnpaul Harris’ studio in the summer of 2004 when Hugh was photographing members of the Charlie Justice Era team posing with Harris’ magnificent Justice sculpture. While Hugh was setting his lights and taking readings, someone asked him: “Hugh, do you have one of the new digital cameras?”

    He said, “sure.” Then reached down in his camera bag and pulled out a digital camera. “This is a good one too, with all the bells and whistles,” he added. He then put the digital camera back into the bag, and went about setting up with his trusty 35mm.

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