The documentary “Harry Benson: Shoot First,” directed by Matthew Miele and Justin Bare, looks at the life and work of renowned photographer Harry Benson who shot and captured unforgettable images of many famous figures such as The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Donald Trump, and Hillary and Bill Clinton. What is especially striking about his photography is how wonderfully intimate and vivid his photos are. These are not just still images made to promote a new project of some kind, but instead are ones which show celebrities at their most natural and down to earth. Looking at Benson’s photographs today, it feels like you are going back in time and arriving at a place which feels so incredibly real.
I had the opportunity, along with Rama Tampubolon of the website Rama’s Screen, to talk with Benson and Miele about how this documentary came about and how it evolved from start to finish. Benson also told us stories of how he got the photo of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr who were in the midst of a pillow fight, and of the haunting images he captured of Robert Kennedy before and after he was assassinated.
“Harry Benson: Shoot First” is another terrific documentary in a year filled with them, and it is a must see for pop culture fans and anyone interested in photography. It opens on December 9 at the Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica, and it is also available to watch on Amazon Video, VOD and iTunes.
Please check out the interview above, and be sure to watch the documentary’s trailer below.