Harry Benson’s photography and exquisite photojournalism brings the world to a standstill, breathing life into slices of history, while at the same time preserving them. In order to capture these moments, he has spent over 60 years making sure to be in the right place at the right time. More than anything, Benson guides history with his pictures by “getting at the center of the story, not the edges.” That, or he mostly just enjoys “having fun with the reporters.”
As a photojournalist for such magazines as Life, People, Vanity Fair, and The Daily Express, his life reads like an epic adventure novel. Born in Glasgow amid the drama of war and bombs dropping overhead, he managed to escape through the “magic” lens of a camera. During the civil war in the Dominican Republic, he was captured by both sides in one day. He caught the horror on Ethel Kennedy’s face in the Ambassador Hotel after her husband had been shot. He has photographed every US president and his family since Eisenhower.
Benson’s curious fortune struck again when he was given a particular assignment in 1964: to capture the Beatles in France and their first journey to the United States. This experience not only made for some of the most famous Beatles photography, but sent Benson’s life in a completely new direction. Once he came to America, he never went back.
He has photographed other celebrities like Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, the Kennedys, Mick Jagger, and the list goes on. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Scottish Press Photography Award. His work has been the subject of many museum shows including one at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.