Photographer John Pilson remembers his mentor and colleague Richard Benson—and the lessons that have stayed with him.
Nobody had a finer nose for pretension—or derived more pleasure in pointing it out—than Richard Benson.
This makes responding to his legacy a challenge. Benson’s work speaks for itself. Or put another way, his photographs were made from a desire to describe and share his profound investment in life as a visual experience. Benson was full of ideas, but only the variety William Carlos Williams described in his epic poem Paterson: “No ideas but in things.” Benson, like the poet he so passionately admired, saw virtuosic possibilities in a humble but relentless attention to detail. This philosophy and working method are detectable in every work in the exhibition Richard Benson: The World Is Smarter Than You Are (on view through January 23, 2022).