World-renowned photographer to be honoured by GCU

04 July 2017

World-renowned photographer to be honoured by GCU

Award-winning Scottish photographer Harry Benson CBE will be honoured by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) during the University’s summer graduations on Wednesday, July 5.

Ahead of receiving an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University, Benson visited the campus for a digital screening of his early photographic works.

Benson, originally from Glasgow, began his career at the Hamilton Advertiser before moving to the Daily Sketch. He scooped what he describes as the ‘story of his life’ with his exclusive interview with mass murderer Peter Manuel. He then moved to join London’s Fleet Street. In 1964, he photographed a young breakthrough band called the Beatles and captured the band having a pillow-fight, which became an iconic image of their early years.

“I have been following my camera. I learned very quickly that the camera will do what you tell it,” said Benson.

 Benson has photographed key moments of the 20th and 21st centuries, including marching with Dr Martin Luther King Jr during the Civil rights Movement and Robert Kennedy’s assassination. He is the only photographer who has pictured the last 12 US Presidents from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to President Donald J. Trump.

On returning to his hometown to pick up his most recent accolade, Benson admits that he had to leave  Glasgow in order to succeed in his career.

“Glasgow wasn’t the place I wanted to get out of. I wanted to stay and make my living here. I’m not talking about making a name. I just wanted to have a good living in Glasgow but I couldn’t do it.”

Having left school at just 13 years old, Benson is delighted to be receiving an Honorary Doctorate as his headmaster’s words still ring in his ears, ‘there’s nothing we can do with him!’

“Well, the Queen also gave me a CBE last year, so I’m absolutely delighted to receive this award – you see, his words still don't leave a good feeling," Benson said.

Benson will attend the ceremony in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on Wednesday, July 5, with his wife Gigi, and his family.

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