David Rae Morris was born in Oxford, England and grew up in New York City. He graduated with a B.A. from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1982, and an M.A. In Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota in 1991. His photographs have been published in National Geographic, Time Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, New York Times, Utne Reader, The Nation, as well as the Angolite, the official Magazine of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, and Love And Rage, a national anarchist weekly. He had also served as a contributing photographer for the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agency FrancePresse, and the European Pressphoto Agency.
In 1999, Morris collaborated withhis late father, the noted author Willie Morris, on "My Mississippi," a collection of essays and photographs about the state of Mississippi and her people published by the University Press of Mississippi. His photographs are in many private and public collections including in the permanent collections of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans, and Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson. His exhibit, “Do You Know What it Means? The Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” opened at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art ten weeks after Katrina made landfall. His post Katrina work was also featured in the book, "Missing New Orleans," published by the Ogden in November 2005 and have appeared in the HBO series “Treme.” His 2012 film “Integrating Ole Miss: James Meredith and Beyond” was broadcast on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and received a Special Recognition Award from the Mississippi Humanities Council and a Telly Award. His third film, “Yazoo Revisited: Integration and Segregation in a Deep Southern Town” examines the integration of the public schools in his father’s hometown of Yazoo City, Mississippi. It won the“Most Transformative Film” award at the 2015 Crossroads Film Festival in Jackson, and shown at festivals in Clarksdale, Oxford, Hattiesburg, Gulfport and at the 26th Annual New Orleans Film Festival. It was also shown at festivals in Orlando, Lafayette, Kansas, Columbia, South Carolina, Macon, Georgia, and San Antonio. He has taught at the University of Minnesota and Ohio University. His 2022 book "Love, Daddy: Letters From My Father" was published by the University Press of Mississippi and has won the 2023 photography award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. He and his longtime partner, Susanne Dietzel, have an 21 year-old daughter, Uma Rae Morris Dietzel. They live in New Orleans with two cats.