WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Photos Document Today’s Forgottonia

Sep 19, 2013

Bruce Morton didn’t appreciate the surroundings while he grew up in Hancock County.

“Growing up here, I always thought this land was really pretty boring,” Morton said.

But after spending many years away – including about 30 years of doing landscape work in Arizona - Morton returned to the area with a changed view of western Illinois.

One of the images from Forgottonia
Credit Bruce Morton

“I noticed the beauty in this land, and I really wanted to record it.”

The result is the self-published picture book, Forgottonia. In addition to landscapes, Morton photographed the people of the area, and he documented sites where farm homes once stood. Morton said he was struck by how many had disappeared.

Morton said his training as a photographer taught him how to see the quality of light and how that affects anything around him, including the land and the people. He said he started to notice that during his visits home before he moved back to Bowen a few years ago.

Bruce Morton
Credit Rich Egger

“(I thought) Wow, this is just as spectacular as it is living in Arizona, which is one of the most beautiful states in the country,” Morton said. “So I thought I could probably achieve the same kind of effect as photographers out in the west do, but do it here.”

Morton said he’s enjoyed photography since he was a child, and said he’s happy as long as he can get out with his camera and “push that button.”

Morton will sign copies of Forgottonia on Saturday, September 21, from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm at New Copperfield’s Book Service in Macomb.