If picture editors are not unanimous in their appreciation of Scottish photographer, Harry Benson’s work, they should at least be 100 per cent agreed on his remarkable timing and access.
The Manhattan-based septuagenerian is in Scotland promoting his latest book, Harry Benson’s Glasgow.
This is the photographer who took some of the most iconic shots of The Beatles and whose pictures of the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy are among the most powerful images of the 20th century.
His knack for perfect timing was evident on his first assignment for the now defunct Daily Sketch newspaper, based in London.
He was asked to photograph the crime scene involving the murder of a young girl, Anne Kneilands, in East Kilbride, who was to prove one of a number of victims who died at the hands of serial killer, Peter Manuel.
But he was late, turning up. He yesterday told allmediascotland.com: “All the police and press had been there, but when I turned up, there was only one cop. Before, all the press had been kept on the other side of a cordon, about 300 yards back. So, I was the only one, on the spot, where she was murdered.”
Harry Benson: Part One
World-famous photographer, Harry Benson, is back in Scotland, promoting a new book: ‘Harry Benson’s Glasgow’. The Manhattan-based septuagenerian - famous for pictures of The Beatles and the assassination of Robert Kennedy - was enjoying a cocktail last night in the company of some of Scotland’s top newspaper editors.
He will have no doubt been having a joke that he could have done with their papers showing an interest in him when he first started out. After years photographing weddings, just after the Second World War, he finally got his first newspaper job with the Hamilton Advertiser.
But it took a further few years before his lugging his portfolio around Glasgow’s newspapers, and Fleet Street, gave him his next big career opportunity: with London-based The Daily Sketch.
He told allmediascotland.com: “I’d get a lot of photographs together and go to London. I must have done that ten or twelve times, before this gentleman, Freddie Wackett, at the Daily Sketch, gave me a little smile, and I asked: ‘There is a chance, isn’t there?’. And he just nodded. I had tried every newspaper in Glasgow and I couldn’t get one; which is quite ironic because the editors now want to have dinner. Where were they when I needed them? I needed them, back then, desperately.”