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Lee Friedlander’s “Richard Benson, 1984.”

Photographer Richard Benson died of heart failure June 22, 2017 at the age of 73. The photographic community lost a brilliant mind that advanced print making.

“Mr. Benson, known as Chip, believed in the painterly impact of reproducing the work of photographers like Irving Penn, Lee Friedlander and Helen Levitt on an offset printing press. A photographer himself — as well as a longtime teacher at Yale and for 10 years the dean of its school of art — Mr. Benson was no stranger to the darkroom. But the offset press — and, later, inkjet printers — fueled his fascination with using new mechanical forms to recreate photographic images …”

Read the full article on the NY Times.

Find his book North South East West here.

Find his book The Printed Picture here.

Read our conversation here.

Read quotes by Richard Benson here.

View video with Richard Benson here.

Richard Benson and Frank Cost discuss important recent transitions in photography at Parsons The New School for Design in NYC during a two day conference The Photographic Universe.

Read my conversation with Richard Benson.

Explore 12 Great Photographs By Great Photographers

Explore The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers.

Explore The Essential Collection Of Documentaries On Photographers.

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Enjoy this collection of photographs by Richard Benson.

Read our conversation here.

View 12 Great Photographs Collections here.

Read more in The Essential Collection Of Photographers’ Quotes.

View more in The Essential Collection Of Photographers Videos.

Find out more about Richard Benson here.

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Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Richard Benson.

“I’ve always believed and I continue to believe that the elite of the world are the people who make things. And the lower class are the people who think, dwell on their thoughts and exchange ideas.” – Richard Benson

“I believe art, pieces of art, are pieces of understanding that you can’t render in any form other than the physical form in which you make the piece of art.” – Richard Benson

“The difference between an artist and a craftsman is that a craftsman is interested in his or her tools and an artist disdains them.” – Richard Benson

“I think nothing is more boring than to spend your time figuring out how to make a thing absolutely beautifully. I think you should make a thing as well as you need to make it to make it carry across the thing you’re trying to make clear and no better.” – Richard Benson

“The worst possible thing you can do is to waste your energy trying to get all the little tiny bits and pieces right because when you get all those right the important things are wrong. So whenever I make something I just try to get the big issues roughly correct. I have no interest in getting the little things all precise.” – Richard Benson

“If you try to reproduce a picture you can’t get it to be the same. If you can’t make it the same what you have to do is you’ve got to figure out what’s important about the thing. And you have to figure out the means by which the important thing is made clear in the original object. And you have to figure out what the new means are by which you can make the thing clear in the new context.” – Richard Benson

“I think there’s a real problem because we overintellectualize the things we make as artists and it’s compounded by the fact that today there is sort of a current idea that the thing about art is the way it’s about art.” – Richard Benson

“What can be more interesting than trying to make a picture or some thing that says something about the human condition – not the art condition. I’m interested in the human condition – not the art condition” – Richard Benson

“There is a great lesson in this for photographers of today who dedicate themselves to one project or another, failing to understand that the best work might come from an obsession with the medium rather than the personally oriented choice of what might be done with it. Lee always has a camera with him and is constantly making pictures. How much better the work of today might be if all the young and dedicated photographers took up this habit.” – Richard Benson

“This thing about technology as time changes is a really interesting thing. And how we keep trying to do good things with it is really complicated. I believe that the way in which we lived in the past was a way that lent itself to the tremendous kind of achievement concentrated in a single thing like a painting. And I believe the way we live now does not lead us to that. That is what I think is sad. Instead it leads us to photographs, where we have thousands of them and it seems to me that on a very basic level the effort is diluted over this broader area.” – Richard Benson

Read our conversation here.

View 12 Great Photographs Collections here.

Read more in The Essential Collection Of Photographers’ Quotes.

View more in The Essential Collection Of Photographers Videos.

Find out more about Richard Benson here.

Photographer Richard Benson celebrates his friend Lee Friedlander’s photographs.

Read my conversation with Richard Benson.

Read my conversation with Lee Friedlander.

View 12 Great Photographs By Lee Friedlander

View The Self-Portraits Of Lee Friedlander.

Explore 12 Great Photographs By Great Photographers

Explore The Essential Collection Of Quotes By Photographers.

Explore The Essential Collection Of Documentaries On Photographers.


Photographer Richard Benson is the man behind the highly informative new exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC – The Printed Picture (on exhibit through June, 2009). Anyone who goes will expand their understanding photographic printmaking and it’s short but rich history. I did. In it you’ll see exceptional examples of a wide variety of printmaking methods from offset to gravure, platinum to silver gelatin, and inkjet. I highly recommend the exhibit and the accompanying book.

“The Printed Picture traces the changing technology of picture-making from the Renaissance to the present, focusing on the vital role of images in multiple copies. The book surveys printing techniques before the invention of photography; the photographic processes that began to appear in the early 19th century; the marriage of printing and photography; and the rapidly evolving digital inventions of our time. From woodblocks to chromolithographs, from engravings to bar codes, from daguerreotypes to modern color photographs, the book succinctly examines the full range of pictorial processes. Exploring how pictures look by describing how they are made, author Richard Benson reaches fascinating and original conclusions about what pictures can mean. Includes 326 illustrations.”

Also visit the exhibit of Benson’s personal work – Found Views, Chosen Colors – at the Pace Macgill Gallery in New York through November 29.

Seen it? Comment here!

Find out more about The Printed Picture here.
Get the book here.
Visit Found Views, Chosen Colors online here.

Read my conversation with Richard Benson here.


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