I saw this movie listed on Netflix and decided to watch it despite never hearing of his name before.
I may not have known his name but his images I had seen before, an awful lot of his images at that.
This is a documentary film of an interview with this fantastic photojournalist.
I don’t think there’s a famous person on this planet that he hasn’t photographed.
From the Beatles, Mohammed Ali, Johnny Carson to Elizabeth Taylor and Greta Garbo.
He took images of the Bobby Kennedy assassination while gunfire was still going on.
Bobby Kennedy assassination 1968, Associated Press
His association with the Beatles started in Paris because the senior Daily Express photographer was too ugly so they sent him, he didn’t even want to cover the story at the time.
Probably the two most famous of his Beatles images.
Beatles meet Mohammed Ali, Harry Benson – seeing America.
Pillow fight, Harry Benson, Time Magazine.
Interviewees had nothing but good things to say about Harry.
He seemed to me to have a great bond with his subjects and most regarded him as a friend and would invite him to different social occasions or their homes.
He says that he dislikes studio photography and his images are always candid.
The pillow fight image is a perfect example of how he could get people to let down their guard.
In the film he says that “a great photograph can never be taken again”.
His work ethic was one of ” be the first one on a story or the last one out”.
He said he also lost three tweed jackets to Michael Jackson but that it was a small price to pay for the exclusive.
Not only was he good at getting in with the jet set he was also a great photo journalist.
He covered Vietnam, The IRA, the racial tensions in America during the 1960’s and lived in a refugee camp in Somalia in the early 80’s during the famine.
James Meredith march, Mississippi 1966, the Atlantic magazine.
IRA, Harry Benson – shoot first, Magnolia pictures.
After the shot about the race riots he found himself sitting next to Martin Luther King and asked him how it all started, MLK replied ” it’s dangerous to be a black man in America”.
He also got invited to a KKK rally.
He probably will be most famous for his work with celebrities.
Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol, NYC 1977, Contessa gallery.
Ivanca Trump, Trump Tower, Harry Benson, Time magazine 2016.
Reagan’s, Vanity Fair magazine.
The Clinton’s, Harry Benson – shoot first, Magnolia pictures.
He was and is good friends with the remaining Beatles which is where his fame started.
He interviewed John Lennon’s assassin Mark David Chapman where Chapman apologised for killing his friend, How many people can say they’ve had that experience.
In closing I must say that Benson sounds like a photographic version of Forrest Gump the way he seemed to make contacts and just bump into people of note.
Overall a great guy and a good documentary.