“Benno is a lot of fun, but he’s always got a camera in his hand,” President John Kennedy warned Clint Hill, assigned to the First Lady’s Secret Service. The President was concerned images of Jackie taken on holiday by her friend “Benno” would feature too many glasses of wine or skimpy bathing suits. Kennedy’s description suited Gilbert “Benno” Graziani (b.1923).
Photographer Benno Graziani's iconic black and white images of the stars of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies recall halcyon days when it was always sunny, the women were always beautiful and life was good. The legendary publication Paris Match was there - and he asserts that's exactly how it was, as the magazine encouraged the young photographers to "spend what you want" and "live like kings" on the condition they produced quality images.
Graziani (b.1923) was friends with some of the biggest celebrities of his era. He was the inspiration for Fellini's La Dolce Vita.
Throughout an incredible career he became close to many stars; including Kirk Douglas, Charlie Chaplin, Audrey Hepburn, Jane Fonda, Brigitte Bardot and Princess Grace of Monaco amongst others, and as such gained unprecedented access. Having met as journalists while Jacqueline Kennedy, then Jacqueline Bouvier, was working for the Washington Times Herald in the 1950's, Graziani had the privilege of documenting the Kennedy lifestyle when she became First Lady. "She (Jackie) began as a reporter-photographer and led a truly exceptional life, a fairy tale transformed into Greek tragedy. Today she is part of history." Graziani adds, "There are people who make history, those who endure it, and there are those who tell about it. That's me."
2013 DRKRM Gallery, Los Angeles
2010 Pierre Bergé, Bruxelles
Projection, Rencontres d’Arles
Barclays George V, Paris
2009 Cassini Building, New York
Hamiltons Gallery, London
2008Le Bon Marché, Paris
Hotel Royal Barrière de Deauville
2007 Galerie Photo12, Paris
2015 Photo LA
2014 Photo LA
2011 Zeitgleist und Glamour, NRW Forum, Dusseldorf
2008 Christies, New York
2001 Metropolitan Museum of New York
2001 Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris