Harry Benson, Portraits of Presiding Officers

Harry Benson (b. Glasgow 1929, lives and works New York) Photographs of Sir David Steel & George Reid

Sir David Steel (b. 1938 Kirkcaldy)
An advocate of devolution, Sir David served as Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament from 12 May 1999, the year the new Parliament opened, until 7 May 2003.

In 1965, he became the youngest Member of Parliament as the MP for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles. He served as leader of the Liberal Party from 1976 – 1988, the period which included the merger with the Social Democratic party. He was knighted in 1990 and upon retiring from the House of Commons in 1997, was made a life peer, Baron Steel of Aikwood. In 2004, he received the Order of the Thistle.

George Reid (b. 1939 Tullibody)
George Reid was Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament from 7 May 2003 - 14 May 2007 and also Deputy Presiding Officer from 1999 - 2003.

Following a career in the media, he joined the Scottish National Party in 1973 and served as MP for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire 1974-79. He was a Board Member of ‘Yes for Scotland’ during the 1979 Referendum and served on the Consultative Steering Group for the Scottish Parliament 1997. He received the Pirogov Gold Medal of the USSR and Gold Medal of the Supreme Soviet of Armenia for work during the 1988 Armenian earthquake.Harry Benson with 'portrait of Sir David Steel' and 'portrait of George Reid'

Artist Biography

Born in Knightswood in 1929, Harry Benson grew up in Glasgow in the aftermath of World War Two. His career as a photographer spans more than fifty years. Harry first worked for the Hamilton Advertiser in 1954 before moving to London to work for the Daily Sketch and then the Daily Express.

Following his 1964 trip to the United States, when he famously photographed the Beatles, he has been based in the U.S., working for Life, People, Architectural Digest and Vanity Fair. In addition to his many portraits of celebrities and politicians, including every U.S. president since Eisenhower, Harry was present at and photographed the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the resignation of Richard Nixon and the funeral of Dr Martin Luther King. He was present at the Watts riots in Los Angeles, I.R.A. hunger strikes, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the first U.S. casualty in Bosnia. He has also photographed conflict in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Israel and the West Bank. British politicians photographed by him include Margaret Thatcher, during her time as Prime Minister, and Sir Winston Churchill.

In 2009, Harry Benson received a CBE. In 2007, he received a Doctor of Letters from the Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow University. He has won numerous awards for his photography over the years, including being twice named NPPA Magazine Photographer of the Year, the LUCIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in Portrait Photography (2005), the Scottish Press Photographers Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2006), and has twice received the Leica Medal of Excellence. A major retrospective of his work, entitled ‘Being There’, took place at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. in 2006-7, and he is also represented in their permanent collections. Another major retrospective was held at Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow, in 2008.



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