Richard Benson


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The World Is Smarter Than You Are

Peter Barberie; With a contribution by An-My Le

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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.

Published in association with the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition Schedule:

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

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


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

ISBN: 9780876332016
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
Publishing Partner: Published in association with the Philadelphia Museum of Art
152 pages, 11 3/4 x 9 3/4
134 color illus.
Dreaming in Black and White

Photography at the Julien Levy Gallery

Katherine Ware and Peter Barberie

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More than One

Photographs in Sequence

Edited by Joel Smith; With essays by Peter Barberie, Kelly

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Paul Strand

Master of Modern Photography

Edited by Peter Barberie with Amanda N. Bock

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Embracing the Contemporary

The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Collection

Edited by Carlos Basualdo, with Anna Mecugni

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Long Light

Photographs by David Lebe

Peter Barberie

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