His friends and colleagues reflect on his century of influence on photography
Robert Capa's iconic 1944 shot of a soldier in the surf at Normandy would become one of the most celebrated pictures of the Second World War—but Capa did not act alone. John G. Morris, a picture editor at LIFE magazine, had assigned the war photographer to cover D-Day.
John Morris may be an avowed pacifist, but his career has been largely defined by war. He was born during WWl, was Robert Capa’s photo editor at Life magazine during WWll and was the first to put graphic photos of the Vietnam War on the New York Times front page. He is widely considered to be one of the most important editors in the history of photography.
Closing in on 100, John G. Morris is perhaps the best-known living photo editor — partly because photographers usually become famous, not picture editors. He edited, and was close to, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Eisenstaedt and W. Eugene Smith.
Tuesday night's International Center of Photography Lecture Series featuring legendary photography editor John G. Morris of Paris is sold out, but the rest of the world will be able to watch it live as ICP has announced that video from the event will be s
Viewers will be able to watch the 7:00 p.m. DST (UTC/GMT -4 hours) on Tuesday through the ICP Web site at http://www.icp.org/live.
When asked what makes a good photojournalist, Morris replies: “Three things – the head, the eyes and the heart. I see many students here every year, and a couple of hundred students from American universities who come to hear me talk, and I ask them all which languages they are learning because the great failure of American journalists is that they only speak English. This is one reason why we have so many problems in other countries – in the Arab world, for example. There are very few Arab-speaking Americans.”
I regard My Journey as a Witness by Shahidul Alam as the most remarkable book by a single photographer since a messenger brought me a first copy of The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1952. It is not that the two books should be compared, although they are approximately the same weight.
Why now after all these years like Deep Throat have I decided to reveal this information you ask? Well if you must know I narrowly avoided a head on crash returning from an assignment in Burma. Deep Mott got to thinking and I realized any day could be my last. So the hell with it, it’s time to let the cat out of the bag and in turn show you what goes in the bag when the cat isn’t in there
Now living in France, Morris, 93, has been called "the world's most influential photography editor." While working for Life magazine in the early 1940s he was Robert Capa's picture editor on D-Day in World War II, and his friends Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, and David "Chim" Seymour picked him to be Magnum Photos' executive editor. He joined NPPA in 1958.