Stephen Morton lets go of each frame as soon as he hits the shutter. As a photojournalist, he understands the images aren’t for him. They exist to tell a story; sometimes on its own, and other times to further interpret a journalist’s vision.
Each photograph goes beyond his personal feelings. It’s a job. And it’s one Morton has perfected over the past 40 years.
He started his practice as a budding photographer at Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center in Key West, Florida, and continued at University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications in Gainesville.
His talent and tenacity soon earned him an internship at the Gainesville Sun. He honed his skills over the next 14 years as a staff photographer, juggling concrete assignments and feature hunting – the latter a practice of exploring the community to find an interesting subject or topic to photograph.
There, he learned to work as a team and open himself up to possibilities. He practiced looking beyond the subject to find the details that deepen each story.
Morton brought these skills with him to Savannah in 1999 where he continued to expand his portfolio and shoot for national publications.
Post 9/11, the work graduated to the Associated Press and international news outlets, he said. Morton documented the changing world. He photographed military trainings, political rallies, and United States presidents. Bloomberg and Getty images used his photographs of Hurricane Katrina and continued documentation on the effects of climate change on the coastal regions.
His work landed on the covers of The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. A capture of Coretta Scott King’s funeral graced the cover of the New York Times. An image of cars navigating a flooded Highway 80 on the way to Tybee was so powerful it, too, landed on the front page of the Times, above the fold.
Morton’s name recognition for realism and powerful storytelling crosses state lines,…