Let me introduce myself…

My name is Amber, and I’m the newest student assistant at work on the Morton collection. One of the projects I’m working on is with what we call the “Machine Prints.” In the 1990s-early 2000s, Hugh Morton sent many of his rolls of film to local drug and grocery stores to be developed.  He would then look through those negatives and decide which ones he wanted to make prints of.  Unfortunately that meant that many negatives were separated from the rest of their roll, and quite often, the prints in an envelope don’t have matching negatives (or any negatives at all!).

Morton did label most of the Machine Print envelopes, but those labels don’t always match the pictures.  The first envelope I opened was of a game in the Dean Dome, but in the middle was a random picture of Prince Charles.  (Apparently it was taken at the Biltmore Estate, where he came to learn more about preserving historic structures—see Hugh Morton’s North Carolina, page 127).

Elizabeth had already done a preliminary sort with general categories such as Basketball, Grandfather Mountain, and Nature, and I then tried to narrow them a little more.  The first one I tackled was basketball and was able to sort those by date.  However, many envelopes were simply labeled “NCAA ’94,” and it was up to me to figure out which teams were playing.

UNC’s Vince Carter dunks against UC Berkeley, 1997

This photo stayed with me as I was going through the many others.  I was amazed at how #15 was defying gravity.  The sheer physics of what he is doing is incomprehensible to me.  This was in a roll labeled “2/98 NC State.”  However, the visitors bench sure doesn’t look red. According to Hugh Morton’s North Carolina, this is Vince Carter and they are playing Cal Berkley (p. 199), which probably would have put it during the Nov. 22, 1997 game at the Dean Dome.  At the June “Photo ID Party,” Fred Kiger said this was Morton’s favorite sports photo he ever took.

This next picture was in an envelope labeled “Groundhog Ice Cream.”  You can see the chocolate smeared on her nose.  But, what is the back story on this?  Is this from Grandfather Mountain?  Some February 2nd tradition?  If anyone knows, please fill me in.  The curiosity is killing me.

Groundhog eating ice cream cone, circa 1990s

I am currently in the middle of going through all the Grandfather Mountain pictures.  What an amazing place.  The sweeping vistas are beautiful, and that Swinging Bridge—I don’t know if I am brave enough to cross it.  I just finished with the Fall pictures and the striking reds and yellows against green grass and bright blue sky are so perfectly captured, and the pictures of bears with different families and local celebrities are a crack-up.

Grandfather Mountain in fall with golf course in foreground, circa 1990s

This has definitely made me want to visit Grandfather soon, to see the places depicted in these pictures and try to capture them with my own camera (although I know they can never be nearly as stunning). Hey, mom and dad, what are we doing for Thanksgiving?  They have golf there!

9 thoughts on “Let me introduce myself…”

  1. i’m no expert on college basketball. but it appears to me that california’s colors are green and yellow, no blue to be found.

  2. Thanks for the comment, John. I am actually from California and went to Sacramento State, which does have the colors Green and Yellow. UC Berkley has the colors Blue and Gold and they are the Golden Bears. Actually, all the UC’s are Blue and Gold. Using a magnifying glass, I can read “Cal” on their jerseys.

  3. ahahah. well i’ve been told. i just googled it. and see now that apparently i was momentarily color-blind.

  4. I remember that game well. It was a blowout – that team that season did that to a lot of other teams. Being that digital wasn’t around, I remember not seeing the photo ’til the following week…my granddad sent my a 4×6 of it. I was working as a student manager with the program at the time, so I gave my 4×6 to Vince.
    He flipped out! If memory serves, it was arranged for him to get several larger copies, which were in turn framed and given to his mother and other family for Christmas that year.
    It was on the cover of the game program when Duke came to the Smith Center…I could have the facts wrong, but I’m pretty sure I was told it was the only game program to ever completely sell out on game day.
    Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.
    Jack Morton (UNC ’00)

  5. Nice to meet you!
    I think that swinging bridge is a challenge.. but for me it might be a challenge just to get the spouse to let me do it, as there’s NO way she would.
    We are working, slowly, slowly, on digitizing family slides and by far the most daunting task is identifiying the place and the participants in each slide. I applaud everyone who helps with the task on this site – wish we had better ‘crowd sourcing’ for our task.
    Question – and this relates to the entire collection: are you all storing metadata within the digital files (EXIF data or whatever), external to the files (descriptions stored in a filesystem or database), or both?

  6. Great information, Amber. Hugh Morton books need to be under the Christmas tree this year. What an interesting man. By the way, you’re coming here for Thanksgiving.

  7. Amber:
    Glad you have joined Stephen, Elizabeth, and David on the Morton Collection team. This work is so very important and you guys are doing a terrific job.
    I liked your description of the Vince Carter image. He does indeed seem to defy gravity. This kind of picture is what makes Hugh’s pictures unique. He knew exactly when to click the shutter to get that fantastic image. You can teach a photographer how to set lenses and shutter speeds, but knowing when to shoot is a gift…a gift that Hugh Morton shared with us many, many times. The Carter image brings to mind two other Morton pictures that fall into the same category.
    (1) The Phil Ford picture on page 148 of Hugh’s 2006 book, “Hugh Morton: North Carolina Photographer.”
    (2) The Michael Jordan picture on page 191 of Hugh’s 2003 book, “Hugh Morton’s North Carolina.” (Great caption as well).
    Again, Amber, I’m pleased you’re on the team.
    (Looks like your Thanksgiving plans have been made).

  8. I went to Grandfather Mountain this weekend to visit and heard lots of wonderful stories. One of the many mysteries from these photos was solved. I spoke with Steve at the Top Shop and he told me the story of the ice cream eating ground hog. Her name was Mrs. Jones. She showed up one day at the backdoor of the snack shop and the employees thought she was cute. They gave her a piece of pretzel and she started coming back each day. One day the staff decided to give her an ice cream cone and see what she would do with that. It became a daily phenomenon and many showed up to take pictures of her. Unfortunately, one day a little girl tried to pet her and she was bitten. Mrs Jones was relocated to another area of the mountain.

  9. I see it’s been awhile since a comment was made here; however, I worked at that magical place the summer of 1986 and remember a ground hog that lived behind the kitchen area and was feed by the staff; could be from that year.

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