The City Magazine Since 1975

Captured!

July 2017
Captured!

The image was taken by Morton Brailsford Paine, a local photographer during the ’30s and ’40s, and the young girl acting out an attack from an imaginary creature is believed to be his daughter, May.

Scrawled across the bottom of this 1937 photograph are the words “Demons from the Deep.” The image was taken by Morton Brailsford Paine, a local photographer during the ’30s and ’40s, and the young girl acting out an attack from an imaginary creature is believed to be his daughter, May. Paine was born in Charleston to Harriet Williman Ashby and Morton Brailsford Paine in 1883 and was buried in Magnolia Cemetery in 1940. Though little else is known about Paine’s personal life, a large collection of his photos, archived at The Charleston Museum, shows us the sights he found photo-worthy in the Holy City—from King Street on Christmas Eve (1937) to plantations all over the Lowcountry to “Citadel boys at work” (circa 1939) at Fort Moultrie. It’s unclear whether Paine was a professional or hobbyist photographer, but his sharp eye and high-quality captures have provided modern-day Charlestonians with a wonderful window into the past.

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Photograph by Morton Brailsford Paine & Courtesy of the Charleston Museum