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Press release from Western Carolina University:

The exhibit of Hugh Morton photographs at WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center will include Morton’s “Wheat, Ashford.” Photo courtesy of Western Carolina University.

CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center will host a reception and talk Thursday, March 27, celebrating the opening of the exhibit “Photographs by Hugh Morton: An Uncommon Retrospective.”

The reception will begin at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a 7 p.m. illustrated lecture titled “Hugh Morton’s Rise to His Photographic Peak” and presented by Stephen Fletcher, photographic archivist for the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Morton (1921-2006) was a prolific photographer who created an estimated 250,000 negatives and transparencies during his lifetime. A native of Wilmington, Morton learned photography during his childhood days at Camp Yonahnoka near Grandfather Mountain in Avery County. He was only 13 when his first published photograph appeared in a North Carolina tourism advertisement in Time magazine. Morton’s photographs would go on to be published in countless books, magazines, newspapers and calendars throughout his career.

Some Morton photographs have been published many times, while others have rarely or have never been seen. The exhibit highlights dozens of his lesser-known photographs alongside some of his classics.

Fletcher began his archival/curatorial career in 1981. He earned his master’s degree at John F. Kennedy University’s Center for Museum Studies in San Francisco in 1992 and worked for the California Historical Society and Indiana Historical Society before beginning his involvement with the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The exhibit at the Mountain Heritage Center will be open through Friday, May 23. Admission to the reception, talk and exhibit is free. For more information, call the museum at 828-227-7129 or visit

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Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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