Harry Benson photographs to go on display at Holyrood

Tricia Marwick and Harry Benson Image copyright Jonathan Delano

The work of one of the world's most renowned photographers is to go on display at the Scottish Parliament.

Harry Benson has captured some of the most significant moments in America's social, political and cultural history over the last 50 years.

The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Martin Luther King are among the most famous subjects of the 86-year-old Glasgow-born photographer.

A collection of some of his memorable images will go on display in August.

Harry Benson: Seeing America will include a photograph of President Regan dancing with his wife, Nancy, which featured on the cover of Vanity Fair.

It will also feature images which document the civil rights movement and tensions in 1960s America, the Watergate journalists Carl and Bob Woodward, and Richard Nixon's resignation speech.

Image copyright Harry Benson
Image caption This picture of President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, appeared on the front cover of Vanity Fair magazine

Entertainers including Sinatra, James Brown, Jack Nicholson, Dolly Parton, Kevin Spacey and Brad Pitt will also feature.

Mr Benson said: "Growing up in Glasgow, one year at the end of term when I had narrowly passed my qualifying exam to the next level, my teacher, Miss MacKenzie, stopped me as I shuffled out of the classroom and said, 'Benson, I don't worry about you one bit.'

"It was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to me. I wish I could have gone back years later to thank her.

"To have my retrospective, my American journey, at parliament is an incredible privilege. My wife, Gigi, and my daughters, Wendy and Tessa, join me in thanking the Scottish Parliament for this truly remarkable honour."

Mr Benson arrived in the US at about the same time as The Beatles, when he covered America for the Daily Express. By 1968, he was fulfilling his ambition of working for Life magazine.

Image copyright Harry Benson
Image caption Benson photographed John F Kennedy in 1961
Image copyright Harry Benson
Image caption Cassius Clay and The Beatles were among dozens of celebrities photographed by Benson

He has photographed every US President since Dwight D Eisenhower.

The Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick said: "Harry Benson's work is admired across the world and he is undoubtedly one of Scotland's greatest exports.

"This new exhibition is Harry's unique take on America over the last 50 years and will feature some of his most iconic photographs.

"As the debate on the forthcoming US Presidential election intensifies, this exhibition shines a light on some of the defining moments of America's past.

"This exhibition is a 'must see' for anyone with an interest in American history, politics and culture."

The photographs will be on display from 12 August until 3 December.

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