Renowned in photography circles for his inventiveness at printing and his impact as a teacher and dean at the Yale University School of Art, Richard Benson is best known today for the remarkable photography books he helped produce and the prints he made of other artists’ work. "Richard Benson: The World Is Smarter Than You Are" puts his photography at the center of these other achievements. Don't miss this exhibition on view through January 23.
"Ohio," 2009, by Richard Benson © Estate of Richard M. A. Benson
Steam engines were among Richard Benson’s many enthusiasms. He was particularly excited to come across this one in a field in Puerto Rico, recognizing it as a version of the engine invented by Scottish engineer James Watt in 1776. Watt’s engine was one of the key developments of the Industrial Revolution. Benson surmised this example was a relic from one of the sugar plantations that existed on the island in the 1800s. Learn more about Benson's discoveries in "Richard Benson: The World Is Smarter Than You Are."
"Scottish Engine, Puerto Rico," around 1980 (negative); 2005–14 (print), by Richard Benson © Estate of Richard M. A. Benson
When Richard Benson dove into color photography, he made numerous pictures that involve color spectrums and rainbows. This was probably due to his excitement over capturing and depicting each color. However, it's worth noting that he experienced synesthesia throughout his life. Synesthetes involuntarily link one cognitive or sensory perception with another; in Benson’s case, he associated each letter of the alphabet with a specific color and hue. Much remains unknown about the condition, though scientists agree that synesthetes typically have exceptional perceptual and memory skills, perhaps because their involuntary associations act like built-in mnemonic devices to help them navigate experience.
Learn more in "Richard Benson: The World Is Smarter Than You Are."
"Sacramento, California," 2008, by Richard Benson © Estate of Richard M. A. Benson http://ow.ly/km3S30s1b7s