Harry Benson

Harry Benson’s exquisite portraits and incisive photojournalism are collected by prominent collectors the world over. His photographs breathe life into slices of history. To capture these moments, Benson has spent more than 60 decades 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.” 

 Born in Glasgow amid the drama of WWII with bombs dropping overhead, Benson managed to escape through the lens of a camera. His fortune struck when he was given a particular assignment in 1964 to capture The Beatles in France and on their first journey to the United States. This experience made for some of the most famous Beatles photography and sent Benson’s life in a completely new direction. Once he came to America, he never went back. 

 Benson has photographed a fantastic range of subjects, including eleven U.S. presidents and their families from Eisenhower to Obama. Portraits of significant figures of the last half of the 20th century include Sir Winston Churchill, HRH Queen Elizabeth II, The King of Spain, Princess Diana, Princess Grace and Princess Caroline of Monaco, Prince Philip, Andy Warhol, Mohammed Ali, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Greta Garbo, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Nicholson, Amy Winehouse, and Brad Pitt. 

 During the civil war in the Dominican Republic, Benson was captured by both sides in one day. He caught the horror on Ethel Kennedy’s face after her husband, Senator Robert Kennedy, had been shot. Benson marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the Civil Rights movement, covered wars in the Gulf, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and the list goes on. In 2009, Benson was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire by HRH Queen Elizabeth for his service to photography. He was twice named NPPA Magazine Photographer of the Year and was twice awarded the Leica Medal of Excellence. In 2013 Benson received an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and in 2009 one from Glasgow University and the Glasgow School of Art followed and became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in London. 

 Harry Benson’s 60-year career as a photojournalist included a contract with LIFE Magazine and photographs on the covers and inside major magazines worldwide, including Life, Time, Newsweek, Town & Country, Vanity Fair, Paris Match, G.Q., Esquire, W, The London Sunday Times Magazine, People, Vogue, and Architectural Digest. He has enjoyed 40 solo exhibitions and published 17 books. 

SELECTED MUSEUM COLLECTIONS:

  Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, SC

  National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, SC

  National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian, DC, US

  British Museum of Photography, Bradford, UK

  Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, US 

  International Photography Hall of Fame, St. Louis, US

Photography & Works