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What to know: Magnificent documentary about a man whose photos you have seen all your life - Harry Benson.
Recommended age -
90 minutes
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HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST cover image Click to play video trailer
If you have ever looked through a magazine, then you have seen the photographic work of Harry Benson. I love this film because of its magnificent storyline and photographs. It is one of the best documentaries I have seen this year! I used to think of documentaries as boring, but documentaries now are fun and feel more like movies then just a boring lecture. Harry Benson's photographs take you on a journey of sixty years of history through the pictures he has taken. In every country imaginable he has taken photographs that are recognized around the globe.

It is incredible how he just happens to be at the right place at the right time and manages to capture historical events. The pictures are of everyone imaginable including the Beatles, Martin Luther King Jr., Mohammed Ali, Queen Elisabeth, the Watts riots in LA, Elizabeth Taylor, Hurricane Katrina, Princess Diana, Bobby Fischer, Michael Jackson, Robert Kennedy's assassination, President Barack Obama and many more.

I like the flow of the movie and the many different points of view that are expressed in the film. Harry Benson tells us about his photos, the stories behind them and about his life. There are many guest star appearance including Alec Baldwin, Dan Rather, Sharon Stone, Ralf Lauren and many more who have been photographed by this amazing man.

My favorite photograph in the film is of a lone boy returning from a fishing trip after losing all his friends. Even though it is a simple photo, the story behind it is shocking and heartbreaking. I loved learning about this photograph and was on the edge of my seat listing to its story. If "a picture is worth a thousand words," then Harry Benson is writing an encyclopedia of a billion words.

Directors Justin Bare and Mathew Miele pulled together a fantastic film, filled with interesting stories and a good vibe throughout. You can tell that everything is real and heartfelt. I was lucky enough to meet the director and enjoyed interviewing him. His favorite photo is the one of the Beetles are having a pillow fight. It is fun and shows the joyful energy they had. The music was composed by Ryan Beatty who I had also met. His songs bring the film to life and add just a bit more sincerity to it. I was nervous when I meet him. After all, he is an icon. It was more nerve wracking taking a pictures with him and I wonder what he will think of my photo. I admire him because he captures moments that tell a story and he hates typical pictures where people are posed and say cheese. He would rather photograph you eating cheese.

I recommend this film for ages 7 to 18. Kids will love learning about Harry Benson and the amazing people he met, the places he traveled to and all the iconic figures he has photographed. Adults will learn more about the man who took the iconic photos that we all recognize. I give this film 5 out of 5 photographic shooting stars.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12.

see youth comments
What we know today about many famous musicians, politicians, and actresses is due to the famous work of photographer Harry Benson. He captured vibrant and intimate photos of the most famous band in history; The Beatles. His extensive portfolio grew to include iconic photos of Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson, and Dr. Martin Luther King. His wide-ranging work has appeared in publications including Life, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Benson, now 86, is still taking photos and has no intentions of stopping
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