Harry Benson's rare, exclusive photos of the elusive and controversial chess genius Bobby Fischer taken during the historic World Championship chess match in Iceland in 1972 in which Fischer solidly defeated reining champ, Russian Boris Spassky, are collected here for the first time, in Bobby Fischer.
Photographer Harry Benson was one of the very few people Bobby Fischer would talk to during the historic World Championship chess match in Iceland in 1972 in which Fischer solidly defeated reining world champion, Russian Boris Spassky. The match, known at the time as the "Game of the Century," is now generally considered a battle in the Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Benson's exclusive photos of the elusive and controversial chess genius give insight into the private world of the man Benson calls "the most eccentric and most fascinating person I have ever photographed."
Benson's intimate access to Fischer was not the easiest of tasks to accomplish. In fact, Fischer barred the door even when his mother arrived from America. Filled with idiosyncrasies and a complete loner, Fischer is still revered by chess fans around the world and is considered the greatest chess player of all time.
Award-winning Scottish photojournalist Harry Benson, CBE began his career at the weekly Hamilton Advertiser newspaper and moved to the Scottish Daily Sketch after his exclusive interviews in prison with Scottish mass murderer Peter Manuel. By 1959 Harry had moved to London’s Fleet Street working for Lord Beaverbrooks’s Daily Express. Harry traveled to America with the Beatles in 1964 and never looked back. Under contract to LIFE Magazine for 30 years, Harry has photographed for major magazines including Time, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, French Vogue, Quest, Paris Match, Forbes, Town & Country, Architectural Digest, People, and The London Sunday Times Magazine. The documentary Harry Benson: Shoot First which chronicles Harry’s 65 year career was released in December 2016 by Magnolia Pictures. In 2009 Harry was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for service to photography. Harry has received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from both St. Andrews University, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow University, and Glasgow Caledonian University. An Honorary Fellow of London's Royal Photographic Society, he has twice been named NPPA Magazine "Photographer of the Year." In 2017 he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Center of Photography. Harry is the only photographer who has photographed the last 12 U.S. Presidents — from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Donald J. Trump. Harry marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement, photographed the Watts Riots, was embedded in the Gulf War, and was next to Senator Robert Kennedy when he was assassinated. He has photographed countless luminaries including Muhammed Ali, Sir Winston Churchill, Jackie Kennedy, President Charles de Gaulle, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Nicholson, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Kate Moss, and the British Royal Family, including a private sitting with Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace. There have been 40 gallery/museum solo exhibitions of his work, and sixteen books of his photographs have been published. Harry's wife, Gigi, works with him on his books and exhibitions. Their two daughters, Wendy and Tessa, live in Los Angeles with their families.