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16 Pictures That Defined Modern History


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

The Beatles arriving in New York on Feb. 7, 1964.

Since the 1950s, photographer Harry Benson has documented some of the most historic moments and people of the modern world. From the Beatles to Amy Winehouse to capturing every US president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, Benson’s pictures are notably intimate and always brazenly close to his subjects.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

At times, too close — Benson is noted for having been standing next to Robert F. Kennedy the moment he was shot on June 5, 1968. Setting aside his fear, Benson captured the unfolding scene with the precision and expertise that’s become synonymous with his name.

His new book, Harry Benson: Persons of Interest, compiles a lifetime of history, moving from his earliest pictures as a young photographer in Scotland to his more recent work on the US presidential election. Here, Benson shares several of his most iconic shots and speaks with BuzzFeed News about some of the lessons he’s learned along the way:

I always wanted to be a photographer. I was heading toward photography basically all my life and I knew it. They didn’t have lessons or any classes when I started out, but as far back as I can remember, I was committed. I made every step on this journey as important as the last, whether I was working on Fleet Street in London or with the local papers in Scotland. I didn’t really care what I was shooting as long as I was shooting.

You’ve got to have respect for both the magazine you’re covering and the person who you’re photographing. And I haven’t changed.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

Muhammad Ali in Lewiston, Maine, on May 25, 1965.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

Watts riots in Los Angeles, 1965.

I’ve covered all kinds of things in my life and made all sorts of photographs, including the last twelve US presidents, civil rights, and the race riots during the 1960s, and even Bobby Kennedy when he was shot, but I never regret taking a picture.

I do get asked occasionally if my experiences give me nightmares. What they’re really talking about is Bobby Kennedy’s death. I tell them I would have nightmares if I hadn’t taken the picture, meaning, this is the business I’m in and I have to do it. When Kennedy was shot, I was thinking, “I can’t fail, this is it. I can’t fail.” And I’m talking about somebody I knew and liked.

“Don’t mess up.” That was basically going through my head when Bobby was shot. Basically, mess up tomorrow, not today. This is it.

There were times when I did feel like my life was in danger, but you do this work not for the action, but because you’re ambitious. That’s why you do it. Also, I’ve always stayed away from other photographers when working in danger zones. When photographers get hurt or killed, they’re usually in a bunch. There’s usually like three or four of them in a bunch, which leads to an “if you do it then I’ll do it” mentality. When I work alone, I’m not much of a target and I can pick my own moments to document.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

Irish Republican Army soldiers in Northern Ireland, 1985.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

Ku Klux Klan meeting in Beaufort, South Carolina, 1965.

What really kept me going all those years was just making a living — wanting to stay on the payroll until the end of the week. Nothing has changed, either. I still want to get as close as I can, then get out of town and stay on the payroll! When someone is paying you, you’re a professional, no matter how small it may seem.

With the Beatles, I was very lucky to get them right at the beginning, and that makes a big difference. It was easier for me to make good pictures of them! Everything was candid, including my favorite shot of them having a pillow fight in a Paris hotel. I like this picture because, not only is it of the greatest group in the world, but it also meant that I was coming to the US.

It was there that the Beatles were told that they were going to be on The Ed Sullivan Show and I was coming along! I never came back to the UK after that. I returned just to pack up my place in London; since then, New York has been my home.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

James Brown in Augusta, Georgia, in 1979.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

Amy Winehouse in London, 2005.

It’s not good to be close with celebrities in this industry and that’s not my purpose when I set out — I’m not there to be part of their propaganda. I’m there to do a job, photograph them, then get out of dodge. I want to be as quick as I can. If I miss a shot and my subjects are upset, it doesn’t bother me. Tomorrow is another day.

A lot of times, celebrities won’t even know your name, too. I’ve always been aware of this. I mean, you can’t kid yourself. I keep a boundary with celebs, but I go through that boundary whenever I get a chance for a shot.

In this industry, people like me to keep their image alive, but that comes with a price. They should know that they have to work to keep their image alive, too — and if they don’t know that, then they’re not going to get what they expect to get. Nobody is going to get six pages in a good magazine for just looking at me. I want to see something going on.

What makes a great photograph is that it makes people want to look at it. It’s a moment, it’s a glimpse, then it’s gone. It’s something that can never happen again.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

President Ronald and first lady Nancy Reagan at the White House, 1986.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

The Clintons at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1992.

Of all the presidents I’ve photographed, the easiest to shoot was Reagan. He was a very likable man and would do really nice things during the shoot. For instance, he would dismiss the official White House photographer, which meant that there would be no other pictures going out on the wires; it would just be me and my camera.

Whereas the most difficult president to work with was Obama. I never worked with him much, but my problem really came down to the official White House photographer. Obama let the official White House photographer dish out the pictures, and there were very few pictures taken by outside photographers. Nobody had access to the Obamas doing private, personal things. If Obama was out playing a game of golf, then photographers would get one shot and it would be one crappy shot.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

President Barack Obama at the White House, 2009.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

Donald Trump in Atlantic City, 1990.

Not a fan of Donald Trump, either. In the picture of Trump with all the cash, we were at his casino in Atlantic City and he said to me, “Harry, I can walk in there and I can get a million dollars if I wanted to.” I said, “Wow, that’s great, Don. I’ve never seen a million dollars.” So he goes in and we piled it up, making sure it was exactly a million dollars. I know for a fact that he doesn’t like that picture now. A year ago I photographed him for Time and he said to me with an attitude, “You did that picture with the money, huh?”

I don’t care.

I’ve photographed the bastard for 40 years. I know him, but he doesn’t like me now, and that’s fine with me, because I don’t like him either. America doesn’t deserve this.

This goes back to what I was saying about the Beatles — you get them at the beginning and that’s where people are wanting to be liked. They’ll do anything, then later they’ll think, “Well, maybe I shouldn’t have done that.”


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

Berlin youth in the US sector of West Berlin, 1982.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

Refugee camp in Las Dhure, Somalia, 1981.


From Harry Benson: Persons of Interest by Harry Benson, published by powerHouse Books

Clockwise from left: Willie Nelson, Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, and Cyndi Lauper in Los Angeles on Jan. 28, 1985.

When I’m giving a lecture or a talk, a young photographer will always get up and ask, “What advice would you give to someone starting out today in your footsteps?” You know what I say? “Buy a guitar!” I say that because there’s no Life magazine out there now, and the amount of business is very slim.

I would also say that dressing properly played a huge role in allowing me to get close to people. If I wanted to get into the second floor of the White House, I’m not going to get in there dressed like a maintenance man. And photographers in particular are usually dressed awful! You have to dress well. You don’t want to show up looking like you’re going to repair the sink or something.

Also, don’t have too many cameras around your neck! Some people carry three cameras, maybe four. That makes people nervous! You’ve also shown that everything that moves in the room, you’re going to photograph it. And that’s not true. Basically, I have two cameras — one is in a small bag and the other is by my side — so they know what I’m there for, but it’s not menacing. And I want to get as close as I can to this person, then catch the next flight home! To me this has always been quite obvious.

Most importantly, as a young photographer you should always work hard — meaning that you’re the first in and you’re the last out. Hard work is important. Sure, there’s a bit of luck, but your camera should be ready for it.

CORRECTION

Robert F. Kennedy was shot on June 5 and died on June 6. An earlier version of this article misstated the date Benson was standing next to RFK when he was shot.


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“Jane The Virgin” Star Justin Baldoni Says He Was Sexually Harassed By A Hollywood Producer

Jane the Virgin star Justin Baldoni has revealed he was sexually harassed by a Hollywood producer when he was a new actor in the industry, describing the incident as part of a system “broken” by sexual misconduct.

Baldoni, 33, made the revelation in an interview with Glamour magazine at the 2017 TEDWomen conference in New Orleans, where he delivered a talk entitled “Why I’m done trying to be ‘man enough.'”

The actor told the magazine that when he was around 21 he was propositioned by a man in a hot tub who told him he was an influential and well-connected Hollywood producer.

“He slowly started to try to get me to take off my pants because I had my bathing suit on and he was naked,” Baldoni said.

“And I remember the way he did it, using his power and what he does and who he knows as a way to make me feel less than,” Baldoni said. “Like I wasn’t going to be as successful as the other guys who’d been in the same hot tub with him, naked.”

The actor said he contemplated what to do for a “split second” before leaving.

“I could imagine how hard and painful that must be for a woman,” he said. I mean I was stronger and bigger than the guy, and [then there’s] the fact that no one is going to believe you if you’re a woman because your voice is already not heard.”

A number of people have come forward with stories about sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault in the entertainment industry since the allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein were published in the New York Times and the New Yorker in October. The #MeToo movement has inspired many women to speak up about their experiences, but Baldoni is one of the few men who have opened up about the subject matter. On Oct. 10, Terry Crews tweeted about a Hollywood agent groping him at an event last year, and on Oct. 29, Anthony Rapp told BuzzFeed News that Kevin Spacey made a sexual advance toward him when he was 14 years old and Spacey was 26.

Baldoni also said he has experienced sexual harassment from women in powerful positions.

“I’ve had my ass grabbed multiple times by powerful women,” he said.

Baldoni is currently developing an online talk show, Man Enough, which he said addresses “what it means to be a man today.”

He is also calling on other men to acknowledge past poor behavior and apologize to those who they’ve wronged.

“I think that’s when the other side of the ‘Me Too’ movement is ‘I’m Sorry,’” Baldoni said. “I guarantee at some point in my life there is a woman or two that I in some way made uncomfortable by saying something or doing something that was chauvinistic or sexist. There is 1 million percent probability that that exists, and all I can do is say, ‘I’m sorry, I was naive, I was young, I screwed up, and I’ll try to do better.’”

Die-Hard Fans Of Melanie Martinez Are Burning And Ripping Her Merch After She Was Accused Of Rape

“I used to really love her music but honestly I can’t listen to it now and feel the same way as I used to,” @poppyhowell explained. “I didn’t want to be associated with Melanie Martinez or her “brand” anymore so I thought about what I could do to cover the images on the sweatshirt.”

“I felt angry, like them, but I didn’t want to destroy a perfectly good sweatshirt. It was very comfy, and I paid $50 for it.”

She told BuzzFeed News it was “shocking” and difficult to learn about the accusations about her former idol, but she said she knew what she had to do.

“It was very difficult to process the reality of the situation because in the past Melanie was one of my favorite singers … It was horrible to read but I knew that I had to stop supporting her.”

Marvel's Launching A New Franchise Of Wonderful, Diverse Superheroes

“It came out of a desire to be able to tell stories about characters that we think are the next great heroes of the Marvel Universe,” Amanat continued.

“I think it’s incredibly important that we tell young women and young girls that they have this incredible power within themselves, and that they have heroes out there [who] … they can look up to, especially in these times.”

Make A Christmas Hit And We'll Tell You Where In The Charts It'll Be

You got: Christmas No 1!

Not only are you going to nab the top spot, but you’re gonna be the next “All I Want For Christmas”. HELLO MONEYBAGS!

Take quizzes and chill with the BuzzFeed app.


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You got: No 89!

I guess being in the top 100 counts as something right?

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You got: No 3!

You made the Top 3! Ok so it wasn’t a number 1 hit, BUTTT you clearly made quite the Christmas CHOON, so well done!

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You got: No 37!

You’re just within the Top 40, so hey it’s an achievement.

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You got: No 9!

You just made the top ten! Which means you’re a Top Ten Artist! That’s gotta get you some money right?

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You got: No 21!

Damn, just outside the Top 20! Maybe it’ll be a sleeper hit?

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You got: No 44!

Ouch, not even the Top 40! Well, at least some people must have liked it right?

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You got: No 13!

Argh, just missed out on the Top 10! Better get back in the studio because you’ve clearly have some talent!

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Get the app

29 Celebs You Totally Forgot Guest Starred In “Grey's Anatomy”

1.

Before she was Eleven on Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown played Ruby, a young girl who called the hospital after her mom was seriously injured:


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2.

American Horror Story star Sarah Paulson guest starred as a young Ellis Grey in a flashback episode:


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3.

Before he was listening to Hannah’s tapes on 13 Reasons Why, Dylan Minnette played an adorable little boy waiting for an ear transplant:


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4.

Before starring in Mad Men and The Handmaid’s Tale, Elisabeth Moss played Nina, a woman accompanying her sick mother to the hospital, on Grey’s:


Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images, ABC

5.

Thor: Ragnarok star Tessa Thompson guest starred as Richard’s niece Camille, who passed out during her prom because of her ovarian cancer:


Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images, ABC

6.

Long before This Is Us, Mandy Moore played Mary, a patient that helped Bailey try to save Charles during the hospital shooting:


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7.

Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. played one of the patients undergoing the domino kidney transplant in Season 5:


Bryan Bedder / Getty Images, ABC

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8.

Parenthood star Mae Whitman guest starred as a character who was admitted to Seattle Grace with a spinal problem:


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9.

Star Trek star John Cho played Marshall, an intern that gets into a car accident after falling asleep at the wheel:


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10.

Scrubs alum Sarah Chalke joined Grey’s for a powerful episode inspired by her son’s real-life disease:


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11.

Friday Night Lights and Fargo star Jesse Plemons played a character who checked into Seattle Grace with a brain tumor:


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12.

Scream Queens alum Abigail Breslin guest starred as a young girl who was experiencing intense pain in Season 3:


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13.

Timeless and Pitch Perfect 3 star Matt Lanter guest starred as Adam, a high school football player with a spinal chord injury:


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14.

American Horror Story and The 100 star Adina Porter played a neurosurgeon who was called to Seattle Grace after Derek suffered a hand tremor as a result of the plane crash:


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15.

Wet Hot American Summer alum Ken Marino played a patient that had been shot by his former employee in Season 2:


Angela Weiss / Getty Images, ABC

16.

Iconic Ghostbusters star Ernie Hudson guest starred as a surgeon on a rival baseball team in Season 8:


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17.

Long before she started saving the world on The Flash, Danielle Panabaker played a patient on life support after her heart had to be removed:


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18.

Roseanne star Sara Gilbert played Kim, a patient with terminal cancer who decided to end her life with aid from a physician:


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19.

Before American Horror Story: Cult, Leslie Grossman played a woman with hypochondria who diagnosed herself with cancer:


Frazer Harrison / Getty Images, ABC

20.

Friday Night Lights star Zach Gilford guest starred as an army vet who made the painful decision to amputate his leg so that he could return to war:


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21.

Long before Candice Patton was kicking ass on The Flash, she played a character with a knee injury on Grey’s:


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22.

While she was running with werewolves on Teen Wolf, Holland Roden swung by Grey’s and played the mother of conjoined twins in Season 8:


Christopher Polk / Getty Images, ABC

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23.

My So-Called Life and Star Trek: Discovery star Wilson Cruz guest starred as the fiancé of a patient admitted to the hospital on his wedding day:


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24.

Scream Queens alum Keke Palmer played Sheryll, a patient who was hoping to be a part of Cristina’s heart surgery trial:


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25.

Arrow star David Ramsey played a husband who accompanied his wife to the hospital after she had been shot in Season 6:


Mike Coppola / Getty Images, ABC

26.

Before UnREAL, Constance Zimmer guest starred as Alana, a physician advisor who was brought in to help the hospital avoid bankruptcy:


Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images, ABC

27.

Parenthood star Max Burkholder played Duncan, a little boy who needed heart surgery, in Season 5:


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28.

Teen Wolf and Pretty Little Liars alum Cody Christian played a boy whose father thought he was faking his severe stomach pain:


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29.

And finally, Liza Weil, Bellamy Young, Joshua Malina, Katie Lowes, Jeff Perry, and Scott Foley all guest starred in episodes of Grey’s before going on to star in Scandal:


Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images / ABC, Emma Mcintyre / Getty Images / ABC, Nicholas Hunt / Getty Images / ABC, Emma McIntyre / Getty Images / ABC, Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images / ABC

Liza Weil has actually starred in Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder.