John G. Morris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
John G. Morris
Born(1916-12-07)December 7, 1916
DiedJuly 28, 2017(2017-07-28) (aged 100)
Paris, France
Alma materUniversity of Chicago (LAB, 1933 and AB, 1937)
OccupationJournalist, photoeditor, author

John Godfrey Morris (December 7, 1916 – July 28, 2017) was an American picture editor, author and journalist, and an important figure in the history of photojournalism.

Early life and family background[edit]

Morris was born on December 7, 1916 in Maple Shade, New Jersey and grew up in Chicago.

His father, John Dale Morris, born in 1869 on a Missouri farm, was a salesman who started out selling dictionaries, then encyclopedias. He founded a book publishing company named John D. Morris & Company of Philadelphia but went broke during the Panic of 1907.[1] His father later worked for Chicago-based La Salle Extension University that provided extension courses.

His mother, Ina Arabella Godfrey, was the daughter of a doctor in Colon, Michigan. She studied Greek and Latin classics and joined the Grand Tour of Europe before working for John D. Morris & Company. She met John Dale Morris and they married in 1908, giving birth to their first child, a girl, in 1909.[2]


Morris edited photographs for magazines and newspapers, working with hundreds of photographers.[3] He helped launch a student publication modeled on Life magazine during his time in University of Chicago and was the picture editor.[1] After graduating in 1938, he found a job in the mailroom, away from the danger, in Time-Life publications eventually becoming Life's Hollywood correspondent.[1] Morris worked for the weekly picture magazine Life throughout World War II.[4] As Life's London picture editor he was responsible for the coverage of the invasion of France on June 6, 1944 – D-Day, thus editing the historic photographs of Robert Capa.[citation needed]

After the war he became successively the picture editor of the U.S. monthly Ladies' Home Journal, executive editor of Magnum Photos,[5] assistant managing editor for graphics of The Washington Post in the 1960s and picture editor of The New York Times from 1967-73.[1]

He continued his career during the Vietnam War. In 1968 he insisted that a photo by Eddie Adams of the Associated Press (AP), showing a South Vietnamese police official in the act of executing a Viet Cong prisoner with a shot to the head, be run on the front page of the New York Times. Four years later, he selected another photo by Nick Ut, showing a naked and screaming Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm attack.[citation needed]

In 1983, Morris moved to Paris, as the European correspondent of National Geographic.[3] As a freelance writer and editor, his primary concern was working for peace. He turned 100 in December 2016.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Morris was married three times, first to Mary Adele Crosby who died in 1964 in childbirth along with the baby. His second wife, Marjorie Smith, died in 1981. His third wife, photographer Tana Hoban, died in 2006. He was survived by his partner, Patricia Trocme from Paris, along with four children (two children from his first marriage and another two from his second marriage) and four grandchildren. He died on July 28, 2017 at a hospital in Paris, aged 100.[7][8]



His autobiography, Get the Picture: a Personal History of Photojournalism, was published in 1998. He was co-author of Robert Capa: D-Day, in French and English (Point de Vues, 2004).

In 2014, his book, Quelque Part en France - L'Été 1944 de John G. Morris (Somewhere in France - The Summer 1944 of John G. Morris), was published.[12] The book was conceived by Robert Pledge of Contact Press Images. It contains the photographs Morris took during his Summer 1944 trip to Normandy, shortly after the D-Day landing on June 6, 1944, and the letters to his wife written "somewhere in France."[13]

Publications edited by Morris[edit]

  • Daily Maroon (The Chicago Maroon), University of Chicago student newspaper, 1933–37
  • Pulse, University of Chicago student magazine, Editor, 1937–38
  • Life, editorial staff, 1939-46 : New York, Los Angeles, Washington, London, Chicago, Paris
  • Ladies' Home Journal, associate editor (pictures), 1946–52
  • Magnum News Service, editor, 1961–63
  • IPS Contact Sheet (Independent Picture Service), 1973–74
  • The Washington Post, assistant managing editor (graphics), 1964–65
  • Time Life Books, editor, 1966–67
  • The New York Times, picture editor, 1967–74; editor, NYT Pictures, 1975–76
  • Quest/77-79, contributing editor, 1977–79
  • National Geographic, European correspondent, 1983–89

Publications by Morris[edit]

  • 1957: Tribute. ASMP Picture Annual. Ridge Press. New York. 1957.
  • 1966: Great Combat Photos. Text by John G. Morris. Dateline, New York, Overseas Press Club, 1966.
  • 1967: And/Or. Preface by John G. Morris. Harper & Row, New York, 1967.
  • 1970: An Editor Speaks Out - From The Other Side Of The Desk. Text by John G. Morris. NPPA, 1970.
  • 1976: World Press Photo 1976. Foreword for annual publication by John G. Morris. World Press Photo 1976, Amsterdam, Teleboek bv., 1976
  • 1978: A Gentle Vision: Photographs by André Kertész. Text by John G. Morris. The Sunday Times, October 29, 1978.
  • 1985: W. Eugene Smith, Let Truth Be the Prejudice. Illustrated biography by Ben Maddow; Afterword by John G. Morris. Aperture, 1985.
  • 1986: FD Paris 1986. Introductory Chapter of Fodor's 1986 Travel Guide to Paris by John G Morris. Fodor's, 1985.
  • 1998: Get the Picture: A Personal History of Photojournalism. Autobiographical Book by John G.Morris. First Edition, Random House,1998. ISBN 0-226-53914-8 Second Edition, University of Chicago Press, 2002. Foreword by William H. McNeill, Afterword by John G Morris. ISBN 978-0-226-53914-0. Translated into French (Éditions de La Martinière, 1999), Japanese, Polish (Wydanie pierwsze, 2007), Italian (Contrasto Due, 2011), and Spanish (La Fabrica, 2013).
  • 2004: Robert Capa: D-Day. Texts by Robert Capa and John G. Morris. Point de Vues, 2004. ISBN 978-2-9516020-7-6
  • 2011: Robert Capa - Traces d'une Légende. Preface by John G. Morris. Bernard Lebrun and Michel Lefebvre. Éditions de la Martinière, Paris France. 2011.
  • 2014: "Quelque Part en France - L'Été 1944 de John G. Morris" (Somewhere in France - The Summer 1944 of John G. Morris). Book by John G. Morris, conceived by Robert Pledge. Marabout, 2014.[12]

TV and films about Morris[edit]

  • 1987: Unterwegs. Werner Bischof - Photograph 51/52. Film by René Baumann and Marco Bischof. b/w, 50min. Switzerland, 1987.[14]
  • 1989: W. Eugene Smith - Photography Made Difficult. Film by Kirk Morris. Phaidon, 89 min. USA, 1989.
  • 1997: Decisive Moments - The Photographs that made History. Documentary by Tim Kirkby and Deboarh Lee. BBC, 1997.
  • 2000: Chosen People. Documentary about the 12 People are People the World Over families. Directed by Seona Robertson (Caledonia, Sterne and Wyld). BBC, 2000.[15]
  • 2002: Guerre Sans Images - Algérie. Documentary by Mohammed Soudani. Amka Films, 2002.[16]
  • 2004: Horst Faas, Heroes Never Die (Los héroes nunca mueren): documentary by Jan Arnold, Marea Films Spain (2004)[17]
  • 2004: Taking the Beach: documentary by John Giannini, Nightline, ABC News (2004)
  • 2005: Looking for an Icon: documentary by Hans Pool and Maaik Krijgsman, Netherlands (2005)[18]
  • 2010: John G. Morris - Eleven Frames: documentary by Douglas Sloan (2010)


  1. ^ a b c d "John G. Morris, photo editor of indelible images of D-Day & Vietnam, dies at 100". The Washington Post. July 29, 2017.
  2. ^ Get the Picture: A Personal History of Photojournalism. University of Chicago Press. 15 June 2002. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-226-53914-0.
  3. ^ a b Get the Picture: A Personal History of Photojournalism. Autobiographical Book by John G.Morris. First Edition, Random House,1998. ISBN 0-226-53914-8 Second Edition, University of Chicago Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0-226-53914-0
  4. ^ "Ideas & Trends: Giving Outrage a Face; Breaking a Taboo, Editors Turn to Images of Death". The New York Times. 1998-10-25. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
  5. ^ 1976: Magnum: Image and Reality. Text by Harvey V. Fondiller. 35mm Photography, Winter 1976.
  6. ^ Liz Ronk, Olivier Laurent (2016-12-07). "Celebrated Photo Editor John G. Morris Turns 100". Time. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  7. ^ a b c "John G. Morris Renowned Photo Editor Dies at 100". The New York Times. July 30, 2017.
  8. ^ "Celebrated Photo Editor John Morris Dies at 100 in Paris". NBC News. July 29, 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Obituary: John G. Morris, Photo Editor of Capa and Smith, 100". Photo District News. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  10. ^ Alumni Awards winners University of Chicago Online Community,; accessed August 4, 2017.
  11. ^ "The Dr. Erich Salomon Award of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie (DGPh)". Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Quelque Part en France" ("Somewhere in France"),; accessed August 4, 2017.
  13. ^ "Somewhere In France, The Summer of '44". Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  14. ^ Unterwegs. Werner Bischof - Photograph 51/52. Film by René Baumann and Marco Bischof. Switzerland, 1987.
  15. ^ "Chosen People BBC (1/7) wtih [sic] John G". YouTube. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2012-03-14.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links[edit]