Lewis Morley was born in 1925 in Hong Kong, moving to the UK when he was 5 years old. He returned to Hong Kong as a youth and at the age of 16 was interned in a Japanese camp for four years, before being liberated in 1945. On returning to the UK he served in the RAF for two years, and subsequently went to art school in London. Morley started work as a photographer in 1954, taking reportage-style pictures, working for Tatler, Go! and She magazines.
Morley spent several years shooting theatre and media photographs around London including John Cleese and Barry Humphries, having been introduced to the satirical scene of the early 1960s through his studio above Peter Cook's Establishment Club in Soho. This led on to photographing the cast of Beyond the Fringe, including a young Dudley Moore, and contributing photographs to Private Eye. Morley chronicled the new idols of sixties society in a style that captured the buoyant spirit of the time, including taking the first published photograph of Twiggy. With time Morley’s reputation grew and he photographed the ‘movers and groovers’ who made up hip London, from David Frost, Peter O’Toole and Alec Guinness to Jean Shrimpton. His spontaneous, individual style led him to be one of the prominent image makers of the sixties, with his photographs exhibited around the world.
In 1963 Morley was asked to take some publicity photos of Christine Keeler for a film that was being planned. Keeler had been having affairs with both the Minister of War (Profumo) and a Russian diplomat, at a time when relations between the two countries were not good. The film was never made, and Keeler went to prison shortly afterwards, but the photographs of the sitting have become icons in their own right.
Throughout the sixties Morley continued to photograph the icons of the time, including Charlotte Rampling, Sylvia Gosse, Judi Dench, Clint Eastwood, David Bailey and Catherine Deneuve. He is now considered to be one of the great photographers of his era.
Morley emigrated to Australia in 1971, where he has continued to work as a photographer, and exhibits internationally.