Skip to content

New Atrium exhibit features the human side of shipping industry

Shipyard Workers, Batam, Indonesia, 2011 (Photo by James Burleigh Morton)
Shipyard Workers, Batam, Indonesia, 2011 (Photo by James Burleigh Morton)

As a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, James Burleigh Morton ’10 traveled across continents studying and photographing the shipping industry around the world. 

Morton has returned to Union, displaying his images in the Burns Arts Atrium Gallery in the Visual Arts Building until March 12. A reception and talk with Morton will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 26.

“The Merchant & the Leviathan” boasts photographs from Morton’s year-long project surrounding the merchant shipping industry around the world, made possible by the fellowship.

"It is hugely satisfying to see the photographs come together as a cohesive body of work," Morton said. "It seems fitting to be holding my first solo exhibition in a building where I spent countless hours as an undergraduate working to develop the craft and myself as an artist."

The program offers a one-year grant to graduating college seniors to study independently outside of the United States. The individual award winners are granted $25,000, and Union is one of only 40 schools in the country eligible to apply. 

This exhibit will be the first time that Morton’s photographs are printed and on public display. His pictures depict life in foreign lands, such as South Korea, Australia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Romania and others. Morton’s interest in the worldwide merchant shipping industry stems from his grandfather’s own experience in the merchant marines during World War II. Not only are images of shipbuilding, ship salvage, monumental vessels and everyday details included, but also engaging portraits. Each photograph was taken with a large-format 4x5 camera, giving each image rich color and detail.

This exhibit is free and open to the public. The hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.