Harry Benson exhibition

03 February 2014

Exhibitions, Industry news

The work of a photographer who has produced some of the world's most recognisable images will go on sale in the UK for the first time ever at Mallett, in London, in February 2014.

Mallett is presenting the first major retrospective in England of photojournalist and documentary and portrait photographer, Harry Benson CBE, celebrating 50 years of his work. Harry Benson: 50 Years Behind the Lens documents the history of our age and celebrates the man who produced some of the most memorable images in the canon. There are over 90 images in total on display, taken from the early sixties to the present day, and the exhibition will run from 4-15 February 2014.

As well as documenting Beatlemania, 50 years ago this year, and producing the images that would define the band’s famous tour, Harry Benson was called upon to photograph every American president from Dwight D Eisenhower to Barack Obama; he marched with and photographed Martin Luther King Jr in the period of the Civil Rights Movement and has taken formal portraits of myriad iconic celebrities including Al Pacino, Dolly Parton, Amy Winehouse, Kate Moss, and Michael Jackson, all of which form a part of the exhibition. He was present at the Watts Riots in Los Angeles, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans; he photographed the Berlin Wall as it was built, and he photographed it being torn down. He has undertaken assignments in conflict zones including Ireland, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Israel and the West Bank; the list of his photographic projects and achievements is immense.

Images in the exhibition cover three main areas of his work: Beatlemania, Celebrity Icons and Reportage. Photographs from each of these categories will be represented equally, showcasing the depth and breadth of Benson’s work. All photographs in the exhibition are for sale.

In 1964 Benson was asked to document Beatlemania as it swept through Europe, many of these photographs will be on sale in the exhibition. The Beatlemania tour celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and it is easy to forget the impact it has had not only on the culture of celebrity but also on the perception of the British on the world’s stage. Accompanying The Beatles on this tour, Benson took the defining image of the group as they frolicked in a Paris hotel room, a photograph that gave expression to the optimism and the innocence of that age. Subsequently, Benson accompanied The Beatles on their tours of America and became a favoured photographer.

Harry Benson has some extraordinary tales to tell that accompany these images, many of which give an unrivalled insight into moments that defined our era. For the exhibition, he has written excerpts of memories to accompany each photograph. 

Harry Benson: 50 Years Behind the Lens. The Artist Returns Home
Mallett, Ely House, 37 Dover Street, London W1S 4NJ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7499 7411
E-mail: info@mallettantiques.com

Image: Harry Benson, Paul on the train from London, 1964, “In early March 1964 the Beatles began filming ‘A Hard Day's Night.’ I joined them on the train that left Marylebone station going to Minehead….”