Barbara Morgan was born in Buffalo, Kansas, in 1900. After studying art at the University of California taught at San Fernando, California (1923-24).
Morgan met Edward Weston who encouraged her to take up photography. She moved to New York and became a member of the Photo League. In 1935 she began photographing Martha Graham and this resulted in the publication of Martha Graham: Sixteen Dances in Photographs (1941).
Morgan established a studio in Scarsdale, New York, and a second book, Summer's Children, about children at summer camp, was published in 1951.
Barbara Morgan died at North Tarrytown in 1992.