Photo pioneer Morris's collection goes under the hammer

John G Morris is a name that will probably mean little to most of you reading this, yet to news photographers and picture editors it's a name that most will recognise and hold in esteem.

Morris' was the editor of photographer Robert Capa on D-Day and went on to help shape the look of the post-war picture magazine. He was also the first executive editor of Magnum Photos and worked at The Washington Post and The New York Times before moving to Paris in 1983 where he worked as correspondent and editor for National Geographic.

Throughout his career he has built up a collection of original prints that are now being sold at auction on today, 30 April, in Paris. The pictures are both personal gifts from the artists as well as creative working prints from his visual diary.

The prints being auctioned include pictures by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Robert Frank and Dorothea Lange, each one a historic document. On the reverse of some of the prints you will find the stamps of the photographers, or picture agency; each mark telling its own story.

Here are a selection of those on sale.

Life Magazine

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Image caption Military appraisal at a Moscow trolley stop, 1954


"This is the photo I recommended to managing editor Ed Thompson of Life when he asked me: 'What do you see for a cover?'

"In December I came back from Paris with hundreds of prints of the USSR. I remember the customs officer asking me how much they were worth (in 1954); I replied 'that's what I am here to find out'."

"Apology" from Robert Capa

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Image caption Robert Capa, Gypsy wedding, Slovakia 1947, Printed in New York the same year


"This is my favourite of all Robert Capa's pictures. He gave me the print as a kind of apology for not photographing a Russian family when he went there with John Steinbeck in 1947.

"Knowing that I needed a family from behind the Iron Curtain for the Ladies' Home Journal People are People series, he stopped to shoot a Slovakian family on his way back to Paris and New York. He accidentally attended a gypsy wedding, which he insisted had gone on for three days - this is the only photo I ever saw of it. I love it."

Life's staff photographer

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Image caption Life at the Saratoga race track, Summer 1939 by Alfred Eisenstaedt


"When I first became a Life researcher/reporter in the summer of 1939, my first out-of-town assignment was to work with Life's staff photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt; something of a prima donna.

"Years later, searching through his contact sheets to see if he had made a photo of me I could use for my autobiography Get the Picture, all I could find was the photo of our two shadows as we looked out on the Saratoga race track."

Capa in the frame

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Image caption Robert Capa at work, 1944


"I snapped this photo of Robert Capa as he shot the surrender of German officers, somewhere in Normandy in August 1944.

"I'm not sure there is another image of Robert Capa at work, other than the famous Picture Post photograph that shows him with a movie camera."

Life photographers

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Image caption D-Day Photographers in Grosvenor Square, 1944


"This photo of Life's accredited photographers, taken in Grosvenor Square just before D-Day in 1944 has been published many times, but this is the print I carried back to New York in late 1944 and thus had to get it passed by the censors."

Left to right back row: Landry, Rodger, Scherschel, Capa. Left to right front row: Morse, Morris, Scherman.