Monday, November 20, 2017

We now begin Thanksgiving week

Looking towards the Manhattan skyline from the Bruckner Expressway. 8:00 AM. Photo: JH.
Monday, November 20, 2017. Mild weather weekend hovering around 50 by day, high 30s by night. Rain on Friday afternoon, Saturday; bright sunshiny Sunday all day yesterday.

We now begin Thanksgiving week. I look forward to it in much the same way I looked forward to it when I was in school and college. Time off. Two things happen: the city quiets down to a Sunday feeling; and many people get to see people who are very important to them and them they see only infrequently in their lives. There is a lot of traveling going on. The Palm Beach Set begins to re-activate. The Hamptons Set(s) ditto. And the rest of us fortunate ones get to visit/reunite/dine/lunch with family, friends, children, friends of friends.

The day itself feels like a Sunday; yet in the middle of the week, requiring an adjustment for the following day and weekend. For me it means I will have time to read. These last few weeks, because of the activity, have not provided the time to spend a couple of hours with a book.
Last night, JH's father David and his sister Stefanie held a joint celebration over at Candle 79. David was celebrating his birthday while Stefanie and her husband Patrick were celebrating their anniversary. Stefanie is trying to turn dad into a vegan. It's been two weeks and counting. Go David!
Late last week, Thursday night there was a booksigning for PowerHouse Books’ “Harry Benson: Persons of Interest” at Staley/Wise Gallery on at 100 Crosby Street. The evening was hosted byTaki Wise and George Kocis and of course the man himself was there to sign.

As photographer/photojournalist, Harry’s now long career has covered and met and photographed a vast population of outstanding/prominent/celebrated/even reprobated individuals of the last almost seven decades. The man’s eye is highly connected to his imagination. He photographs people the way he sees them whether they see themselves that way or not. But it’s a kind eye, an empathic eye, as well as a sly, witty eye. He’s Scottish; what would you expect?
Harry Benson signing a book for Margot Doughterty.
There was a a big turnout for the show.  Edwina Sandys stopped by and then was off to speak at the premiere of Darkest Hour, the new film about her grandfather Sir Winston Churchill. Also, photographer/author Caterine Milinaire was down from her home in Newport. Harry and Caterine have known each other since her Tatler magazine days in London.  She later worked along with Gigi Benson for Diana Vreeland at Vogue in its heyday. 
Caterine Milinaire with Harry and Gigi Benson
Also in the crowd: designer Charlotte Ronson, Linda Buckley, Pierce McGuire, Ben Havrilak, Grace and Chris Meigher, Lynn Chrystal, Fredda Harris, Edgar Batista, Vanity Fair’s David Friend, fellow photographer Adriana Echavarria, Liu Amy Xiaoxia who organizes the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China; Belinda Breeze; Richard Birkenhead who designed the book; the book's publisher Daniel Power; editor Craig Cohen; and publicist Madison Morales; and Harry’s LIFE Magazine colleagues including M.C. Marden, Maddy Miller,  Marie Claude Wrenn with husband Robert Myers, and West Coast transplant Margot Dougherty. It was a fun evening with good friends, and surrounded by Harry’s compelling portraits and observations of us. Photographer Jonathan Delano was there snapping Harry with his legions of fans and friends.
Harry with Charlotte Ronson.
Early Friday morning Harry and Gigi were off to St. Louis where Harry was being inducted into the INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY HALL OF FAME that evening. Accepting the honor Harry brought down the house with his story about photographing Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

The general rule, he explained, is that one waits to speak to HRH until she has spoken to you. Harry, knowing this, was trying to think of something appropriate to say when she did. But what? Harry was aware (as a Scotsman) that the Queen had a lot of dogs which were often with her in the country.

So when the time came, he said to HRH, “how’re you dogs, Ma’am?” To which the Queen responded with pleasure, like any dog lover, including Harry who loves his dachsies.
Harry's portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
After the exchange, Harry took the photograph. I don’t know how long his photo sessions are except for the one he did with me and  Joy Ingham, Emilia Saint Amand and Topsy Taylor. It’s one of the best, maybe the best photo ever taken of all of us. That took him about one minute, once we were settled in.  After he finished his session with the Queen that day at Buckingham Palace, without a word, she left the room. Very few minutes later, she returned with several dogs to introduce them to Harry and vice versa.

Harry’s now long career is filled with those moments of intimacy created by the camera and reflected in his lens. His images are so memorable because he really covered the waterfront as we used to say, and got it all!  This new book of his is another example. A prize.
Edwina Sandys and Gigi Benson.
Judy Auchincloss and Belinda Breeze.
Fredda Harris, Gigi, and Lynn Crystal.
Harry with Chris and Grace Meigher.
David Friend, George Kocis, Harry, and Belinda Breeze.
Harry with Adriana Echavarria.
Robert Myers and wife Mary Claude Wrenn with Caterine Milinaire.
Edgar Batista, Harry, and Maddy Miller.
Linda Buckley, Pierce MacGuire, and Harry.
Liu Amy Xiaoxia and Caterine Milinaire.
Taki Wise with Harry.
Catching up. Last Thursday a week, The Kips Bay Boys & Girls Clubs and Kohler Co. co-hosted an evening of cocktails at the KOHLER Experience Center (KEC) on 6 West 22nd Street. The evening unveiled the the first-ever Kips Bay Palm Beach Show House, a new satellite of the prestigious, four-decades-old show house program launching November 25, of which KOHLER is also a sponsor.

There were cocktails, hors d’oeurvres, and conversation at the 10,000-square-foot KEC space in Flatiron. Special guests included Designer Michael Cox of foley&cox, a participant in the Kips Bay Palm Beach Show House and Artist Ashley Woodson Bailey.
Guy Tunnicliffe and Ashley Woodson Bailey
Proceeds from the Kips Bay Palm Beach Show House will benefit the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Clubs and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. This is a first-time collaboration between the two chapters — to support support more than 18,000 disenfranchised children in both New York and Florida.

For more information on Kips Bay Palm Beach, please visit
Nazira Handal, Michael Fox, and Samantha Valerio
Nazira Handal and Daniel Quintero Nancy Yusko, Design Studio Manager at KOHLER
Alberto Villalobos, Nazira Handal, and Brian Poffel
Daniel Quintero and Brian Poffel Caren Kabot and Sarah Bray
Kathryn Given and friends

Photographs by Jonathan Delano (Harry Benson); Jenna Bascom (Kips Bay)

Contact DPC here.