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University of Chicago Press (Trd)
"I am a journalist," says John G. Morris, "but not a reporter and not a photographer." He is a picture editor--the person who selects which photos get used in a newspaper or magazine--and he's worked for some of the top names in the industry: at Life under Henry Luce, for Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee at the Washington Post, and for Abe Rosenthal at the New York Times, where his bold page-one use of a photograph by Eddie Adams of the execution of a Vietcong suspect by Nyugen Ngoc Loan became one of the Vietnam War's most enduring images.
Morris, who also served as the first executive editor for the Magnum photojournalist press agency, looks back at his career in this lively memoir. Among the colleagues who turn up in anecdotes are Alfred Eisenstaedt, Lee Miller, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Capa; the book leads with a grainy Capa photograph of the D-day landing, 1 of only 11 shots that survived a freak accident in the London photo labs of Life as Morris and his team raced against the clock to get images to America in time for the next issue. There are over 100 other powerful photographs, taken at the Japanese-American internment camp at Manzanar, the Nazi concentration camp at Majdanek, and the front lines of the Vietnam and Gulf Wars, and other locales. In addition to being a dynamic storyteller, Morris is also steadfast in his determination that photojournalists should be given the freedom--both in resources and lack of censorship--to provoke us into a new awareness of what is happening in the world. --Ron Hogan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In his long and distinguished career as a journalist and picture editor, John G. Morris had one simple--and stunningly complex--assignment: Get the picture. "Picture editors," Morris writes, "are the unwitting (or witting, as the case may be) tastemakers, the unappointed guardians of morality, the talent brokers, the accomplices to celebrity. Most important--or disturbing--they are the fixers of 'reality' and of 'history.'" Indeed, Morris commissioned, edited, and published the photos that have helped define our sense of recent history, and he worked closely with some of the century's great photographers, including Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and W. Eugene Smith. Get the Picture is Morris's fascinating account of a half century of photojournalism, from Capa's heroism on D-Day to the special ethical problems that arose for photographers and their editors on the night Princess Diana died in a Paris tunnel while trying to avoid the paparazzi.
Beginning with the ascendancy of Life magazine during World War II, Morris offers the inside stories behind dozens of famous pictures, and intimate portraits of the men and women who took them, along with colorful anecdotes about his encounters with Alfred Hitchcock, General George S. Patton, Marlene Dietrich, Ernest Hemingway, Lee Miller, Andrei Sakharov, and many others. Morris has a few opinions as well about his powerful bosses--Henry Luce of Time Inc., Katharine Graham of The Washington Post, and A. M. Rosenthal of The New York Times--and he reflects, often humorously, on his triumphs and losses inside various media empires. He observes how the press failed to tell the story of the Holocaust, and how it turned away in revulsion from images of what the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki did to the human body. In addition, Morris details how The Washington Post fell for the Johnson administratio