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John Morris, 100, edited iconic war photographs

July 30, 2017 GMT

PARIS — John 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, told The Associated Press that Mr. Morris died Friday at a hospital in Paris, the city where he had been living for decades.

Among his proudest achievements, Mr. 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 Vietnam War by Associated Press photographers Nick Ut, Cong Huynh and Eddie Adams.

During a career spanning more than half a century, Mr. 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.

Describing himself as a Quaker and a pacifist, Mr. Morris was also known for his political commitment, backing the Democratic Party and being an early support for Barack Obama. Even at his advanced age, Mr. Morris had closely followed the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and had been “appalled” by the election of Donald Trump, his friend Pledge said.

Mr. Morris felt his fierce anti-war convictions did not contradict his work with photographers covering war zones.

“He believed that photography could change things,” Pledge said in a phone interview from his New York office. “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.”

— associated press