Join legendary photo editor John G. Morris for a conversation with Robert Pledge, founder and director of Contact Press Images.
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John Godfrey Morris was born in 1916 in Maple Shade, New Jersey, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and spent his childhood and youth in Chicago, where he would go on to study and graduate in political science. He has since been intimately involved with the story of 20th-century photojournalism. As Life magazine’s photo editor for Europe, based in London, in charge of coordinating the photographic war coverage of the Western Front during World War II, he managed to save the 11 historic images by Robert Capa of the D-Day Normandy landing of June 6, 1944, which had been damaged in development. His career spans tenures with the Magnum photo agency, Ladies' Home Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the National Geographic magazine. His autobiography, Get the Picture, A Personal History of Photojournalism (Random House 1998; University of Chicago 2002) has been translated into five languages (French, Italian, Japanese, Polish, and Spanish). He has received prestigious awards such as the Dr. Erich Salomon Preis from the German Society of Photography (DGPh, Cologne, 2003) and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Center of Photography (ICP, New York, 2010). He was made a knight in France’s prestigious Légion d'Honneur in 2009. He lives in Paris.
Robert Pledge was born in 1942 in London, UK and moved to Paris, France at the age of 10. A student of West African languages and anthropology, he found his way into journalism as a specialist in African affairs. In 1970 he became an editor at the French bi-monthly visual arts Zoom, le magazine de l'image and in 1973 the director of the New York office of the picture agency Gamma. In 1976 he founded Contact Press Images in New York with American photographer David Burnett. He has curated major exhibitions worldwide and served on prestigious international juries including that of the World Press Photo Foundation, three times. A visiting professor at several Chinese universities, he is also a member and former president of the Board of Trustees of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund. In 2004 and 2010 he received the Overseas Press Club of America's Olivier Rebbot Award for Best Reporting in Books, respectively for Red-Color News Soldier, A Chinese Photographer's Odyssey Through The Cultural Revolution (Phaidon) co-authored Li Zhensheng, and 44 Days—Iran and the Remaking of the World (Focal Point) co-authored with Burnett and writer Jacques Menasche. He commutes between Paris and New York.
Somewhere in France: John G. Morris and the Summer of 1944 is currently on view at ICP.
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The ICP Lecture Series is made possible by The Bernard Lee Schwartz Foundation, Inc. and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.