Harry Benson: Shoot First
Provided by Metacritic.com
Don’t blink–not even once. That’s the best advice for viewers of the dazzling new documentary Harry Benson: Shoot First.
Bare and Miele do more than track a remarkable career here; they reveal the essentials of what makes Benson unique. Any paparazzo with moxie can get into the action and shoot first. But what this shutterbug's eye arranges, sometimes in a split second, is the work of a singular craftsman with a rare gift: raising the click of a camera shutter to the level of art.
The Film Stage
By the film’s conclusion, you can’t not be in love with this man, and, of course, his pictures.
Los Angeles Times
As the intriguing documentary Harry Benson: Shoot First demonstrates, the fact that an art-for-art's sake modus operandi is alien to Benson makes his work and the personality and philosophy behind it more compelling than they would otherwise be.
Benson, who turns 87 on Dec. 2, comes off as an adorable Scots curmudgeon in Justin Bare and Matthew Miele’s film.
Overall, “Shoot First” is a breezy look at a professional whose work remains endearing, despite some highfalutin claims.
In his singular dedication to brilliant work, Benson was rarely home, even on holidays, but he expresses scorn for people more concerned with others' feelings than their images.
While it offers ample opportunity to admire Benson's body of work, it provides few aesthetic delights of its own.
The filmmakers are themselves too celebrity besotted to comment in a meaningful way on how Benson’s career balanced depictions of the rich and famous with in-the-trenches risk-taking.
The New York Times
The film, by Justin Bare and Matthew Miele, would be better if it spent less time gushing about how great Mr. Benson is and more time confronting some of the questions his approach raises.
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