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Morton Beebe's Biography

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to Danielle Chavanon Beebe
Jan 2008

Morton Beebe is a third generation San Franciscan, born in Oakland and a graduate of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. After college, he attended Naval Flight School in Pensacola Florida with the intention of becoming a Navy pilot. However, through some interesting twists of fate, he ended up as a Public Information Officer in Antarctica during “Operation Deep Freeze” in 1957-58.

While in Antarctica, Morton became the 39th person to reach the South Pole. He produced several photo essays covering historic events in Antarctica, which were published in National Geographic, Life, Paris Match and Stern. Shortly thereafter, he joined Magnum and started traveling and photographing stories full-time.

Morton has covered the world, combining advertising assignments for his corporate clients—including Minolta, Nikon, Bank of America, Chevron, and American Airlines—with editorial assignments for Travel & Leisure, Geo, Ski and National Geographic, among others.

During the next two decades, Morton worked as a photographer and film producer, based in San Francisco, working on such films as The Graduate and Petulia. He was also a pioneer in the stock photography business, helping to establish and successfully grow The Image Bank, the first modern stock agency.

Morton has published several successful books, from Operation Deep Freeze, Antarctica in 1958 to the highly acclaimed San Francisco: City by the Bay, which was first published in 1985, and has sold out five printings and is now in a third edition.

Morton's work has been widely exhibited, including: Photography and the Fine Arts, ICP, New York; "South Pacific" at the De Young Museum (One Man Show); “Golden Gate 50” (Joint exhibition with Peter Stackpole); "Conversation Across Time", Ansel Adams/Morton Beebe at Dominican University, and "San Francisco" (One Man Show), at the Gap Art Collection in San Francisco.

Morton continues to work from San Francisco, California, where he lives with his wife, Danielle Chavanon Beebe. Current projects include editorial and advertising assignments, a large stock archive represented by Corbis, and an ongoing underwater video project with the Deep Flight Aviator submersible.

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