WFU exhibit will feature High Point man's photography

Jun. 02, 2013 @ 01:00 AM

A resumé as peculiarly diverse as Morton Huber’s doesn’t come along very often.
For example, the 89-year-old High Point resident — who was trained in biochemistry — is a former professor of organic chemistry, environmental science and qualitative organic analyses. Whatever that is.
But there’s another, entirely different side — a creative side — to Huber, as visitors to Wake Forest University’s Museum of Anthropology will discover this summer, when a collection of Huber’s photographs will be on display.
“Descendants of the Maya: Photography by Dr. Morton W. Huber” will go on exhibit Tuesday and continue through Aug. 30 at the museum, which is located on the WFU campus in Winston-Salem.
“Somewhere along the line, I got into doing things in the artistic field,” Huber says with a chuckle.
Specifically, the erstwhile academian took an interest in drawing, painting and photography.
It’s Huber’s photography that will take the spotlight in the upcoming exhibit at WFU. The exhibit will feature 29 black-and-white photos Huber took during a 1965 visit to Guatemala, as well as three textile pieces and two wooden dance masks he collected during his trip.
The framed photos, in particular, which are 22 by 28 inches, paint a picture of a civilization and people that were quite different from the Guatemala that exists today.
“Dr. Huber’s images of people and places are even more haunting and poignant in light of Guatemala’s civil war, which killed and displaced so many Maya during the 1980s and 1990s,” says Stephen Whittington, director of the Museum of Anthropology.
Huber, who revisited Guatemala with his wife, Kyoko, in 2003, agrees that much has changed since his initial visit in 1965.
“When we were first there, there was practically no industry,” he recalls. “The government was so unstable that foreign countries didn’t want to invest in Guatemala. There were hardly any paved roads once you got out of Guatemala City, and there were hardly any cars. There were just these very old buses that connected the Indian communities with Antigua or Guatemala City. The Indians who wanted to travel would put their suitcases, boxes, produce, chickens — whatever they had — on top of the buses and tie it down, and it made quite a sight going through the country.”
There is some industry there now, Huber adds, as well as coastal plantations that grow oranges, bananas and tobacco. There are also more paved roads and more vehicles than there used to be, he adds.
Huber also remembers that many of the Maya villagers did not want to be photographed.
“They think if you photograph them, they’re going to lose their soul,” he explains. “It was even more difficult at this church in Chichicastenango, where they have actually attacked photographers before.”
Huber, who continues to pursue painting and photography, recently published a book of his paintings titled “Morton W. Huber — An Adventure In Art.” He previously published two other books, both related to time he spent in Japan, where his wife is from.
In the upcoming exhibit at WFU, Huber’s photos show the Maya in all walks of life — weaving, carrying a pack of firewood, selling goods at a market.
“I think it’s important for people to see how others around the world live,” Whittington says of the exhibit, “so they’ll have a better understanding of the diverse cultures that make up our world.”

jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579

Want to go?

“Descendants of the Maya: Photography by Dr. Morton W. Huber” opens Tuesday at Wake Forest University’s Museum of Anthropology, located beside Kentner Stadium on the WFU campus in Winston-Salem.
The exhibit will continue through Aug. 30.
Admission is free.
Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information, call (336) 758-5282 or visit http://moa.wfu.edu.