Potato farmers photographed by Verne Morton, part of the collections at The History Center of Tompkins County.

Potato farmers photographed by Verne Morton, part of the collections at The History Center of Tompkins County. 

 

The Town of Groton announced that is now accepting submissions for the 11th annual Verne Morton Memorial Photography Show & Contest.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Aug. 21, with the show and contest being held on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23 and 24, at the town hall during the 2019 Groton Olde Home Days celebration. Admission to the gala is free, as is submitting content for the show and contest.

Individuals of all ages are allowed to submit up to two original matted photographs with a minimum size of 8 by 10 inches, not including the mat (glass or frames are not prohibited). All photos must be taken in either the town or the village.

People can submit content in four categories: “People” (at work, at play, interacting with their environment), “Places” (buildings, structures, roads and places that show what Groton looks like), “Weather” (weather events as they happen, such as snow, wind, rain, lightning and so forth), “Animals” (interacting with people and places in Groton) and “Botanicals” (flowers, plants or trees in Groton). Awards will be given out for each of those categories along with awards such as “Best in Show,” “People’s Choice,” “Producer’s Choice” and the “Morton Legacy Award,” which is given to an individual whose work best exemplifies the spirit of Morton’s work.

Morton was born in Groton in 1868 and, according to the Town of Groton, he became a photographer in 1896, taking over 12,000 photos over a span of nearly 50 years. Morton’s work primarily focused on the rural life of upstate New York.

“[Verne] and his brother Neil lived on the family farm in central New York all their lives,” according to New York Heritage’s website. “Verne taught school and practiced freelance photography, photographing the people and their work in this rural community. The Mortons lived a frugal life, with income from the family farm and an inheritance from a carriage and wagon business. Neil bought his first automobile in 1913 and the two brothers traveled and photographed the northeastern United States.”

The Town of Groton mentions that half of Morton’s photo collection is of plants and animals.

“Many of these photographs were used in books published by Cornell’s College of Agriculture and other nature books,” according to a biographical blurb on Morton on the Town website. “Other Morton subjects include the people and activities of the rural world in which he lived: farmers stacking hay; beekeepers extracting honey from a comb; children running in a schoolyard; a young woman feeding turkeys outside a barn. It is interesting to see the changes that Morton’s images document such as automobiles replacing carriages and sleighs and tractors replacing horse-drawn plows.”

Morton published two books full of his work: Images of Rural Life and Great Possibilities. Individuals and view Morton’s work at The History Center in Tompkins County in Ithaca or at the organization’s website at thehistorycenter.net. For any questions regarding the show and contest as well as applications for submitting content, one should call (607) 898-5035 or send an email to townclerk@grotontown.com.

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