Morris Engel (1918-2005) was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended Abraham Lincoln High School. In 1936, Engel joined the Photo League where he met Aaron Siskind, Berenice Abbott and Paul Strand, who invited him to work on his film “Native Land.” Engel became a staff photographer on the newspaper PM and joined the Navy in 1941. As a member of Combat Photo Unit 8 that landed on Normandy on D-Day, he received a citation from Captain Edward Steichen. After his return from service he worked for many national magazines including Ladies Home Journal, McCall’s, Fortune, Colliers, and others.
Engel became interested in motion pictures in the 1950s and produced his first film, Little Fugitive. The film, which is about a 7-year-old boy who runs away to Coney Island, has received international acclaim. It won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, was nominated for an Academy Award, and was selected by the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1997.
Engel married photographer, Ruth Orkin during the making of Little Fugitive and together they made a second film, Lovers and Lollipops. Engel made several other feature length films but throughout, continued to photograph the streets of NYC.