MorganOrtons

The Morgan Ortons at the Beach, 1998

The Morgan Ortons at the Beach, 1998

Since my earliest days as a photographer I have aimed my camera at subjects closest to me. Photographing husband Mark’s brother’s family, the Morgan Ortons, has been one of my longest-term projects. For twenty-two years, over the course of a few weekends each year and an annual week at the beach for sixteen of them, I have been making portraits of mom Meredith Morgan, dad Edward Orton, and their children, Parker Morgan Orton and Maggie Morgan Orton. If asked, I would have described the first few years of the series as a chronicle of the upward trajectory of a family of bright (two PhDs in chemistry, two high-achiever children), energetic, quirky and loving people. As the older sister of a severely physically disabled girl with spina bifida, it no longer surprises me that families such as the Morgan Ortons have always held a special attraction for me, representing my idealized dream of what family life could be. However, in 2003, when Parker was nine and Maggie was seven, over a period of a few months, something so unpredictable, so destructive, and so heartbreaking happened that the trajectory of the family’s narrative changed: Parker was diagnosed with Childhood Onset Schizophrenia (COS). Where does one go from there?  I have photographed the Morgan Orton family through their journey, making this the portrait of a family cruising along, a family clobbered by a treacherous childhood illness and a family moving forward. BackFrontMorganOrtonBook**NOTE: The photographs in this presentation focus on the relationship between Ed and Parker - early and later years.  I am working on a book, "The Morgan Ortons: through my lens" that is a far more accurate depiction of the four unique individuals who make up the Morgan Orton Family.  
At the Beach, Early Days

At the Beach, Early Days

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At the DC Zoo

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Bubble Gum Cigar with Ed and Uncle Mark

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Daily chess match. Parker was NJ State Champion (3rd pl) for Third Graders

 
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Life Has Changed for the Morgan Ortons, 2005

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At first, delusions were continuous

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Before Dinner

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What's Happening

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Juggling - Last Summer At the Beach

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Pause

Poke

Poke

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Playful and Very Close

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The Future is Unknown