Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives

Kingston Icon of Photography: Harry Benson

Award-winning photojournalist discusses digital photography tips and building rapport with subjects

Press Release—This month, Kingston Technology Company, Inc., features award-winning photojournalist Harry Benson on its Kingston Icons of Photography Web site. Benson describes how he’s captured riveting photographs for major newspapers, plus Life, People and Vanity Fair magazines.

Kingston’s Icons of Photography Web site profiles some of the world’s most respected photographers. Each month, the company spotlights a different Icon plus their tips, techniques and an online gallery of images. Icons share anecdotes and advice  for taking better pictures, and cover topics ranging from lighting and backgrounds to color profiling and making the most of equipment. Through “try it yourself” suggestions, Icons explain how they tackle their own photography challenges.

October leads with a new profile by Scotland-born Benson, who claims that awareness and attention are very important when working as a photographer. “The biggest mistake photographers make is only looking at the world when they’re holding a camera. Take the time to look around and understand what is going on,” he says. “Photojournalists have a unique way of seeing the world. This is what makes us different.”


Benson continues by commenting on the importance of building rapport with a photographic subject and how digital technology has made his shoots more personal. “Digital has allowed me to get closer to my subject, to build a rapport by showing them an image on the back of the camera,” he adds. “Sharing what you’re doing with your subject can build rapport, but it can also hinder momentum.”

Benson, born in Glasgow, Scotland, started his photography career with the London Daily Express and an early assignment to track The Beatles on tour. After two years with the London Daily Express, Benson went to work for Life. He photographed more than 100 of People magazine’s early covers and is credited with helping the magazine build visibility within the U.S. Benson has photographed every American president from Eisenhower to George W. Bush. He covered Nixon’s resignation, the Watts Riots, the fall of the Berlin Wall and marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Benson currently shoots for Vanity Fair and Architectural Digest, among others. He has won numerous awards, including the 2005 Lucie award for lifetime achievement in portrait photography, and was twice named ASMP Magazine Photographer of the Year. Benson has had nine books published, with two new books: "Harry Benson’s Glasgow," and "Harry Benson: The Tivoli Gardens" coming out in 2007.

Kingston will introduce a new Icons photographer on the 15th of each month. Other Kingston Icons of Photography include: Barbara Bordnick, Colin Finlay, Douglas Kirkland, Gerd Ludwig, Peter Read Miller and Chris Rainier. Visit to read more about Benson and other Icons’ work.