Saturday, 7 December 2013

Harry Benson in Sofia - your chance to see the contemporary photography classics

Harry Benson giving a speech during the opening of his '60 Years in Photographs' exhibition, 5 December 2013, Sofia. 

An exhibition of over forty works by the legendary Scottish American photographer Harry Benson can now be seen at the Vivacom Art Hall in Sofia. The show marks the 60 years' anniversary of Benson as a professional photographer.    

Mr Benson himself attended the opening event of the exhibition on 5 December. The next day he gave a public lecture during which he demonstrated yet more photographs and told the stories behind them. The lecture room was completely packed. Queues of people were waiting to get his autographs after the talk.

Now in his 80s, Harry Benson retains a noticeably youthful aura around him, along with sharp wit and wisdom - without too many unnecessary words. His sentences are elegant and a delight to follow, and, despite all the years spent living in the USA, mild Glaswegian accent can still be heard in his voice.

Benson is often mentioned as a long-term photographer for the Life magazine. His career has been very diverse. After publishing his very first photo of a deer from his father's zoo in Glasgow, Benson went on to photograph weddings, then he was hired as a reporter to cover all Scotland, then got an assignment to follow The Beatles on tour, then he followed them to America and decided to stay. A career at Life followed.

Benson has photographed many famous people including all American presidents, starting with Eisenhower, as well as many actors, musicians & other stars. However, his portfolio also includes a significant share of photographs from the rougher side of life: the racial clashes of the 1960s, the Ku Klux Klan, the IRA, the war in the Dominican Republic. He has captured the assasination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Benson is often informally titled as the chronicler of the 1960s.    

It's great to be able to see works of such a legend in Sofia - you have time until 15 January 2014.

Crowded room during the lecture, 6 December.
Text and photos (c) Agne Drumelyte, 2013.

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