Amy Winehouse was a budding English singer-songwriter, who through her innate talent and singular vision, quickly garnered critical acclaim and captured the hearts and imaginations of her generation. Her unique image and soulful voice propelled her into stardom, but her turbulent lifestyle became a constant target for tabloids and media.
In this portrait, by legendary photographer Harry Benson, the singer is captured in 2007 at a moment of international success and acclaim. Shot in the world-renowned Savoy Hotel in London, it portrays Winehouse in a more comfortable environment; this was Amy unaffected and relaxed.
“I am glad I had the opportunity to photograph the mega-talented Amy Winehouse when she was enjoying the first wave of her success. The petite young woman was not what I expected. She was all business in the recording studio and was personable and easy to work with when we started taking photographs. She seemed to be feeling great that day and liked being photographed.”
Harry Benson, one of the most recognized and accomplished photographers of our era, was not new to photographing rising stars in their hotel rooms. In 1964, he photographed The Beatles in the George V Hotel in Paris, moments after learning of the success of a recent record. The photographs of the Beatles in their first American tour in 1964 catapulted Benson’s career into the world stage, inserting Benson “…at the center of the story, not the edges.”
In the span of over 60 years, Benson’s versatility and range has captured some of the world’s most noteworthy moments; front and center during the tragedy of Senator Robert Kennedy’s assassination and marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights movement. Benson’s portraiture features major influential forces such as HRH Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, Sir Winston Churchill, as well as Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol, The Rolling Stones, and the list goes on. Harry Benson’s body of work represents an encyclopedic archival of our cultural history, capturing seminal personalities and dramas on the world stage.
In this image, Harry Benson’s lens focuses on Amy Winehouse, a begrudgingly famous artist cherished for her ability to produce empathy and for the emotional strength of her voice. With his honed skill, Benson captures the sensuous soul of a generational singer-songwriter who owed the world nothing but bestowed upon it such promising talent and moving music. Although the musician’s life would be cut short by tragedy, the photo session offers a lasting moment that will maintain alive the legacy of Winehouse’s work and iconic persona.