He was born in 1948, La Habana, Cuba.
He studied in Bowdoin College y Yale School of Art
He has received a number of awards and grants, which include a Cintas grant in 1992 a Guggenheim fellowship in 1994 a Rappaport Prize in 2006 and an Alturas Foundation grant in 2009 to photograph the landscape of West Texas. He was the recipient of the International Center of Photography 2011 Infinity award in Art.
His work has been collected and shown in many galleries, institutions and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York, The Chicago Art Institute, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Houston Museum of Art, The Boston Museum of Fine Art, The Victoria & Albert Museum and over seventy other museums in the United States and abroad. A retrospective of his work organized jointly by the Art Institute of Chicago, The Getty and The High Museum in Atlanta will be on view starting in the summer of 2013. His publications include a photographic illustration of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1998) by Dutton Children’s Books, A Camera in a Room (1995) by Smithsonian Press, A Book of Books (2002) and Camera Obscura (2004) by Bulfinch Press and Abelardo Morell (2005), published by Phaidon Press. Recent publications include a limited edition book by The Museum of Modern Art in New York of his Cliché Verre images with a text by Oliver Sacks. He lives with his wife, Lisa McElaney, a filmmaker, and his children Brady and Laura in Brookline, Massachusetts. Filmmaker Allie Humenuk has made a film entitled Shadow of the House, an indepth documentary about Morell’s work and experience as an artist.