Harry Benson

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For other people named Harry Benson, see Harry Benson (disambiguation).
Harry James Benson
Reagan with Harry Benson.jpg
President Ronald Reagan poses for Life photographer Harry Benson on the balcony of the Ronald Reagan Suite, Century Plaza Hotel, August 28, 1987
Born (1929-12-02)December 2, 1929
Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Occupation Photographer
Notable work(s) The Beatles inaugural trip to the United States (1964)
Awards Lifetime Achievement Award, Scottish Press Photography Awards

Harry James Benson, CBE (born in Glasgow) is a Scottish photographer whose pictures have appeared in publications including Life, Vanity Fair, People and The New Yorker.[citation needed]

Benson was assigned to travel with The Beatles on their inaugural American tour in 1964. One of his most recognizable images shows the band in a gleeful pillow fight in a hotel room.[1][2]

Other celebrities Benson has photographed include Bobby Fischer, Michael Jackson, who allowed him access to his bedroom, and Elizabeth Taylor, whom Benson photographed before and after her brain surgery. He has also photographed political figures, including every US president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, and covered war zones.

Benson has been the subject of many exhibitions, including one organized by the Scottish National Portrait Galley at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution,[3] taken over a hundred cover shots for People, published several books and won awards.[vague] He was the subject of a documentary[vague] directed by Ken MacGregor and written by William McIlvanney. Most recently he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Scottish Press Photography Awards in April 2006.[citation needed]

Benson was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of The Royal Photographic Society in 2009. These are awarded to distinguished persons having, from their position or attainments, an intimate connection with the science or fine art of photography or the application thereof.

Benson was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.[4] In 2014, he took an official photographic portrait of the Queen, commissioned by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. This was over fifty years after his first portrait of the Queen, taken when she opened a coal mine in 1957.[5]

His daughter is American actress Wendy Benson.



  1. ^ Mitsui, Evan (Nov 16, 2013). "Harry Benson's photos of the Beatles sparked career". CBC News. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Photographer Harry Benson on Working with The Beatles". The Hollywood Reporter. June 25, 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58929. p. 24. 31 December 2008.
  4. ^ "The Queen's new portrait - 50 years after Harry Benson's first photograph of Her Majesty". Telegraph. 

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