The City Magazine Since 1975

All Aglow

All Aglow
December 2018

In the 1930s, downtown Charleston was the epicenter of the Lowcountry’s holiday festivities, with Yuletide cheer evident across the peninsula. Vendors peddled winter greenery on busy street corners, while parties and dances were held throughout the city and the songs of carolers rang in the air. On King Street, lights twinkled and stores remained open for last-minute shoppers on Christmas Eve 1937, when Morton B. Paine captured this shot. For 40 years, Paine made his name photographing the buildings, faces, and landscapes of the Lowcountry. Prior to his death in 1940, he used photography to experiment with speed, light, and shadow, creating a number of striking images. Though a hurricane flooded his Meeting Street workroom just days before his passing, his sister May recovered the bulk of his photographs, selling the collection to The Charleston Museum. Thanks to this rescue mission, his slices of Lowcountry life (such as this glowing holiday evening) are forever preserved. See more of Paine’s work in the new Charleston Museum exhibition “A Photographic Artist: Morton B. Paine’s Shots of Speed,” on view through April.