Death of American photographer John Morris

War photographer John G. Morris in a fox hole during the Battle of Normandy.
Photo: Ned Buddy

July 30th, 2017: Death of American photographer John G. Morris, veteran of the Battle of Normandy
Information source: AFP

The American photographer John G. Morris died Friday in Paris at the age of 100.

Known primarily for his photo editing skills, the New Jersey native published exclusive photos of his friend Robert Capa taken during the Normandy landing on June 6, 1944, and published a few days later in the American magazine Life.

Equipped with a camera borrowed from the office, he decided to leave for France. For a month, he followed the progression of the American troops, in Normandy, then in Brittany, accompanying the photographers of Life Bob Capa, Robert Landry, Frank Scherschel… He was welcomed by the local populations and also discoverd a routed German army. His memoirs are published in the book “Somewhere in France – Summer 1944”.

In 1953, he joined Magnum, founded in 1947 by Robert Capa, to become the main operational manager, responsible in particular for choosing the destinations to send the photographers of the agency.

“John Morris played a very important role in the early years of Magnum,” said agency chief executive David Kogan in a statement released on Friday at the Magnum site.

After leaving the agency in the early 1960s, he also worked for the Washington Post and New York Times.

He was particularly responsible for the publication, in the New York Times, of a photo of a Vietnamese policeman from Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) executing at close range a man suspected of collaborating with the Vietcong, despite the reluctance of part of the editorial staff.

He also obtained the publication, still in the New York daily newspaper, of the cliché of a Vietnamese girl running naked on a road after an American bombardment with napalm.

The two photos became symbols of the violence of the Vietnamese conflict and each earned their authors the prestigious Pulitzer Prize.

“A legend has disappeared,” twice the World Press Photo association, which organizes an annual photo contest.

“I am saddened to learn of the death of John G. Morris, a great photo editor and a dear friend, and he has marked photojournalism,” said Jean-François Leroy, co-founder of the photojournalism festival of Perpignan Visa for the picture.

The French Minister of Culture, Françoise Nyssen, also expressed her “emotion”, greeting in a tweet “a legend of image and journalism, great witness of the twentieth century.”

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