The Morris Engel archive is run by his daughter Mary Engel. She handles licensing, sales and promotion for his photographs and films. Many of the photographs on this website are available for purchase as fine art photographs or for licensing and reproduction. Three of the feature films are available on the DVD boxset “The Films of Morris Engel” or for 16 or 35mm film rental.
Morris Engel: The Independent
Morris Engel: The Independent is a 28 minute documentary that Mary Engel wrote, produced and directed in 2006 about her father, which is included on the boxset. The film tellls the story of filmmaker and photographer Morris Engel’s life.
The film begins with his early life growing up in Brooklyn, and discusses the influence that Paul Strand and The Photo League had on his decision to become a photographer. He worked on the newspaper PM in the early 40’s, and was a photographer in the Navy in World War II.
His groundbreaking film “Little Fugitive” (1953) was one of the very first independent films shot on the streets of New York City in the early 50’s, with a handheld 35mm camera that he designed. It won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was also nominated for an Academy Award.
It also features a segment titled ‘Little Fugitive Revisited’ that includes a sequence with the actor who played Joey in the film, and was shot at Coney Island in 1998. Film historian and professor Foster Hirsch discusses Engel’s second and third films, “Lovers and Lollipops (1955) and “Weddings and Babies” (1958).
The film also includes interviews with filmmakers Richard Leacock, Albert Maysles and D.A. Pennebaker, and the influence that Engel had on them as filmmakers, and in designing their own cameras.
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Mary Engel: Photo Archivist / Filmmaker
Mary Engel is an award winning filmmaker and the archivist of the Orkin/Engel Film and Photo Archive. Her first film “Ruth Orkin: Frames of Life” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1996, and went on to many other film festivals including the Aspen, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, London and the Nantucket Film Festival. The film was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of the “Outstanding Documentaries of 1996.”
Engel is a co-producer on the remake of the classic feature film “Little Fugitive,” which premiered at the Seattle Film Festival in 2006. She was also a co-producer on a short documentary that traveled across the company with an exhibition titled “A World History of Women Photographers.”
She has been the director of the Ruth Orkin Photo Archive since its inception in 1985. Engel is responsible for sales, licensing, contractual negotiations, marketing, legal issues, promotion, publicity and also works with many photography galleries in the United States and Abroad. She has published three catalogs of photography: Ruth Orkin A Retrospective (1995), Morris Engel Early Work (1999) and Ruth Orkin Above and Beyond (1999). In 2006 She formed the Orkin/Engel Film and Photo Archive which now combines the work of both of her parents, Ruth Orkin and Morris Engel.
She also recently founded the American Photography Archive Group (APAG) which is comprised of over 30 photography archives that are handled by a family member.