Christopher Morris: I Have a True Love of Documenting People of Power
Formerly a member of White House pool and a war photographer, Christopher Morris talks about why unconcerned living is difficult, what the meaning of war is and how he has nothing to say to Putin.
On the cover of Christopher Morris’ portfolio on the VII photo agency website you see a woman with glittered lips. However, inside you find series that are not at all about beauty or fashion. Christopher has started doing fashion shoots fairly recently. He has been photographing war for twenty years: he worked in Croatia, Bosnia, Somalia. He captured the US intervention in Iraq, the war in Chechnya and Afghanistan. From 2000, he has been commissioned by Time magazine to cover the White House - he photographed Bush and Obama, and even the presidential bodyguards got so used to him he made a series about them. If you google Morris, you constantly find the word ‘brade’ beside his name. Bird in Flight talked to Mr. Morris about the things that scare him, why he wants to get into the Kremlin and why sometimes it is justified to break the law.
Born in California, started his career as a war photographer for Time magazine. Was assigned by Time to cover the White House from 2000 to 2009. Founded and is a member of VII photo agency. Won numerous awards, among them the Robert Capa Gold Medal, Olivier Rebbot Memorial Award, and World Press Photo award. Lives in Paris.
As a child some TV and movies scared me immensely, and I was very afraid of the dark unknown. From under my bed to my closet, everything was very frightening.
If I had to describe myself in one word, I would say I’m kind.
I’ve pushed the boundaries of legal activities to put me into a position to make photographs that are next to impossible to get. Understanding that working in conflicts, typical society rules and laws don’t always continue to exist.
It’s very difficult to put yourself in situations where human life and human existence are at their worse. Surrounded by starving and dying children, clinging to your legs, looking up at you to save them - and all you have is a camera.
War has meaning, the evil intentions of men, where they drag societies into destruction. War is man using nationalist or religious reason to push their people to war.
Society really does not care. Most people are consumed with their own personal existence in the world and don’t want to be bothered by being shown human suffering that they feel has nothing to do with them. Coming back from covering conflict and watching this, this unconcerned going about daily life, can be quite demoralizing to the conflict photographer.
No day is really the same, I’m in a constant state of trying to find assignments to do the thing I love, which is photography.
If I could change anything in my professional life, I would go to business school before starting my career.
I live my life the fullest while maintaining a good reputation.
I like The Cure, Joy Division, 70's funk and intelligent movies.
Being the President of the United States is an extremely powerful and difficult job. You are the leader of many diverse people, religions and ideas. There is so much responsibility for your nation, your people, and the world.
I do not really believe people will land on Mars in our lifetime. The cost involved is too great, and with so many economic issues in the world today, I am not sure governments would have the resources for such a task.
I would like to get inside the Kremlin. I have a true love of attempting to document places and people of power, from the White House to the Vatican. It is not easy to get there, I have never been asked to nor would I think it would be possible.
I feel I would have nothing to say to Putin, his personal knowledge of the world if far beyond mine. Many things to ask but nothing to say.