MEET HARRY BENSON
Here is a man who has truly done it all, then some, and then some more. With an archive beyond anything I had ever seen in any museum, photographers of this quality are extremely rare. Harry Benson has covered so much that the word ‘legend’ is the first that comes to mind, but in the world of advertising, it borders on the word ‘myth.’
In 2010, a mutual acquaintance who I had not seen for some time called out of the blue asking if I would like to meet Harry Benson. Who wouldn’t want to meet Harry Benson? And if you are meeting Harry Benson, you are also meeting Gigi Benson. The two go together like salt and pepper.
On a beautiful spring day, I was invited to the Benson’s Upper East Side apartment. It is an embracing entry, with dogs barking leading to a flurry of introductions, light peeling in from all directions, and amazing photos on the walls. Harry greeted me with polite conversation, as we slowly migrated to their expansive terrace. I will never forget the sincerity on Harry’s face when he told me nobody understood him or his photos. All the while I was thinking, “Well, we will see about that.”
HARRY IS ONE OF PHOTOGRAPHY’S GREATEST REBELS.
His talents cannot be categorized. Most photographers have one or two areas they specialize in, but Harry’s range is limitless. I’m still being surprised.
The release of his documentary film Harry Benson Shoot First gave testament to what I already know. The man is a true witness and over time the witness has become a genius.
Mr. Benson’s work brings a bold perspective and a sharp reminder of where we have been, and where we should never go again. Now more relevant than ever, Harry’s work offers us a poignant lesson in history.
MORE THAN ANYTHING I WANT TO SHARE HARRY’S ARCHIVE
Under contract to LIFE Magazine for over 30 years, Harry has photographed for countless major magazines including Time, Vanity Fair, W, Newsweek, Quest, Paris Match, Forbes, Town & Country, Architectural Digest, People, The London Sunday Times Magazine and French Vogue.
His subjects include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Alec Baldwin, Kate Moss, Winston Churchill, Princess Diana, Jacqueline Kennedy, Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol, Dolly Parton, Elizabeth Taylor, Brad Pitt, Robert Kennedy, and The British Royal Family.
Harry has the unique distinction of being the only person who has photographed 12 U.S. Presidents — from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Donald J. Trump.
From the building and tearing down of the Berlin Wall to marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Civil Rights Movement, Harry has observed some of the most iconic moments in history.
HE HAS RECEIVED A WORLD PRESS PHOTO AWARD; WAS NAMED NPPA MAGAZINE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR, AND RECEIVED THE LEICA MEDAL OF EXCELLENCE, TWICE.
On April 24 of this year he will receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Center of Photography in New York.
In 2009, Harry was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for service to photography.
He has received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from both St. Andrews University and Glasgow University, Scotland, and is an Honorary Fellow of London’s Royal Photographic Society.
There have been 40 gallery/museum solo exhibitions of Harry’s photographs, and sixteen books have been published.
His work lives in countless permanent collections, including the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, the Scottish Parliament, and the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Harry Benson Through The Lens
May 5 – June 29
Artist Reception May 28, 5-7PM
Kate Moss, 1993 – Print, 30x24 in
Jacqueline Kennedy, 1968 – Print, 40x60 in
Glasgow Boys In Fountain, 1956 – Print, 24x30 in