"Two years ago, I had the good fortune to win a photography competition with this shot:
I Predict a Riot.
However, it wasn't just any old competition. It had been organised by the National Galleries of Scotland to tie-in to their Harry Benson photography competition. Oh, and as part of the prize, I got to meet the great man.....
Harry Benson is one of the greatest photojournalists ever (and yet remains very approachable). You name it, he's done it. He has photographed every American President since Eisenhower (and was the favourite photographer of Ronald and Nancy Reagan). He was with The Beatles when they toured America (and photographed them with a young Cassius Clay). He was only a few feet away when Robert Kennedy (who was one of his friends) was assasinated. His career has been incredible and he's still working.
I've run into Harry a few times since that night. Starting tomorrow, there's a new exhibition of his work at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Museum.
Today there was a press preview of the exhibition and last week, I was invited to come along to this by Harry and his wife, Gigi. Woo-Hoo!
The press photographers and film crews who were there obviously had a job to do and I was trying not to get in their way (while taking some shots). They were all (not unreasonably) taking pictures of Harry in the exhibition area, next to some of his iconic shots.
I wanted to try for something a little different. There was nothing in the exhibition area which identified it as belonging to Glasgow (the city of Harry's birth). So, on the way down to the exhibition, I was taking a shot of this distinctive statue of Elvis Presley. Anyone who has been to the Kelvingrove Museum will be familiar with it. Given that Harry has lived and worked in America for over forty years, it also seemed to make sense.
I'm absolutely thrilled to have been able to meet Harry. You don't get the chance to run into many of your heroes, but I had admired his work, long before I knew of his name.
Anyway, I'm glad I took this shot (which was done after the press photographers had all finished). Harry Benson...a proud son of Glasgow...and (now) an American citizen."
And of course the quirky....