Robert Benjamin, Nellie and Her Italian Soda, Boulder, 1990s. Denver Art Museum; purchased with Photography Department Funds from Cathey and Richard Finlon. © Robert Benjamin.

November 13, 2010 through May 29, 2011 – Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum (DAM) presents the first-ever solo museum exhibition for photographer Robert Benjamin. Robert Benjamin: Notes from a Quiet Life shares a vision of beauty and patience cultivated through a lifetime devotion to photography. This is a rare opportunity to view works by a ‘photographer’s photographer’ who has traded prints with America’s leading artists, but who has refused museum and gallery exhibitions until now. The exhibition of 40 color prints and Polaroids made between 1984 and 2003 will be on view  in the Delisa and Anthony Mayer Photography Gallery on level seven of the North Building.
“Benjamin has pursued his work with quiet tenacityand grace for nearly 40 years,” said Eric Paddock, DAM’s curator of photography. “The extraordinary colors and chromatic relationships in Benjamin’s photographs, and the sheer magical presence of the people and things in his photos, remind me of the beauty any of us can find in everyday life if we aren’t too caught up in other things to stop and really look.”
Born in Chicago, Benjamin, 63, traveled around the world before landing in New York City where he bought his first camera in 1972. At that time there were only two photography galleries in New York and comparatively few books available on the art form. Benjamin started taking pictures of the subject he found most interesting and accessible—his own life.

Robert Benjamin, Nellie Dreaming, Lyons,, 1999. Lent by the artist

Over the years he’s earned a living in retail sales, but always kept his practice and passion of photography alive. He now resides in Fort Collins, Colo., with his family.
Visitors will enjoy thoughtful, striking images that give a glimpse into Benjamin’s life. Taking down the barriers between photographer and viewer, he captures the everyday moments of his family and hopes to inspire others with these common experiences. “I’m just a dad with a camera,”
Benjamin said. “I started photography for the same reason any artist does, but I didn’t have the same influences; I didn’t have to please anyone but myself.” Benjamin believes the beauty of this subject matter is no longer tolerable in art. Lots of photographers are looking to capture scandal or violence, he notes. “What I show—love and beauty together—it’s downright radical.”

Robert Benjamin: Notes from a Quiet Life is a rich exploration of the photographer’s everyday life: unguarded moments with family, things around the house, and small visual surprises on walks to the corner store. Benjamin’s images capture the beauty of his world—like his daughter sipping a soda, his son peacefully sleeping on the couch, and tender moments with his wife, Pamela.

“The sheer magical presence of the people and things in his photos, remind me of the beauty any of us can find in everyday life,” says curator Eric Paddock.”If we aren’t too caught up in other things to stop and really look.”

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