Photo ed­i­tor known for im­ages of war

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS -

PARIS — John God­frey

Mor­ris, a cel­e­brated Amer­i­can photo ed­i­tor who brought some of the most iconic pho­to­graphs of World War II and the Viet­nam War to the world’s at­ten­tion, has died at 100.

His long­time friend, Robert Pledge, pres­i­dent and ed­i­to­rial di­rec­tor of the Con­tact Press Im­ages photo agency, said Mor­ris died Fri­day at a hos­pi­tal in Paris, where he had been liv­ing for decades.

Mor­ris edited the his­toric pic­tures of the D-Day in­va­sion in Nor­mandy taken by famed war pho­tog­ra­pher Robert Capa in 1944 for Life mag­a­zine. In ad­di­tion, as pic­ture ed­i­tor for

The New York Times, he helped grant front-page dis­play to two of the most strik­ing pic­tures of the Viet­nam War, by As­so­ci­ated Press pho­tog­ra­phers Nick Ut Cong Huynh and Ed­die Adams.

Dur­ing a ca­reer span­ning more than a half-cen­tury, Mor­ris played a cru­cial role in help­ing to craft a no­ble role for pho­to­jour­nal­ism. He also worked for The Wash­ing­ton Post, Na­tional Geo­graphic and the renowned Mag­num photo agency.

His job as a photo ed­i­tor in­cluded send­ing pho­tog­ra­phers to war zones or other re­port­ing sites, ad­vis­ing them on the an­gles of their pho­to­graphs, choos­ing the best shots in the stream of im­ages trans­mit­ted and stag­ing the se­lected im­ages for the news out­lets.

As a photo ed­i­tor for The

New York Times, Mor­ris in­sisted that dif­fi­cult pic­tures be pub­lished be­cause they showed the hor­rors of the Viet­nam War.

On at least two mem­o­rable oc­ca­sions, he got dis­turb­ing pic­tures pub­lished on the front page of the renowned pa­per.

The first one, by Adams, showed a Saigon po­lice chief ex­e­cut­ing a Vi­et­cong pris­oner at point-blank range in 1968 dur­ing the open­ing stages of the Tet Of­fen­sive. The sec­ond one, by Huynh, de­picted a naked 9-year-old girl and other chil­dren flee­ing a na­palm bomb­ing in 1972. Both pho­to­graphs won Pulitzers.

“He be­lieved that pho­tog­ra­phy could change things,” Pledge said. “Mor­ris was con­vinced that im­ages of hor­rors, dev­as­ta­tions, dam­age to minds and bod­ies could prompt a move­ment of hos­til­ity to war in the pub­lic and even­tu­ally help make the world wiser.”

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