Richard Benson The World Is Smarter Than You Are Peter Barberie, An-My Le

Publication date:
11 Jan 2022
Yale University Press
152 pages: 248 x 298mm
134 color illus.
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A wide-ranging retrospective that reveals a master printer’s own photographs to be technically brilliant work of remarkable breadth and complexity

This book presents the first in-depth survey of photographs by Richard Benson (1943–2017), who approached photography as a thrilling set of technical challenges and used the medium to craft profound depictions of people, the spaces of their lives and work, and the products of their labor. An essay by curator Peter Barberie interweaves examination of Benson’s photographic practices with the story of his ideas, writing, and reproductive printing, while photographer An-My Lê, Benson’s former student, offers her perspective on his teaching, family life, and art. The book begins with his stunning darkroom prints in silver and platinum and follows his trajectory toward extraordinary digital photography, culminating in later color prints that are at once elegant and garish, representing the contemporary world in vivid detail. Benson’s democratic eye also extended to human subjects: he photographed loved ones and strangers with extraordinary attention, and directed the same gaze to the buildings and landscapes entwined with individual lives.

Peter Barberie is Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
(October 3, 2021–January 23, 2022)