Photographer of the Month – Daryl Benson

When I first got started in photography back in 1986, I recall two major influences on my development as a photographer. The first was a book called Photography of Natural Things by Freeman Patterson which was essentially the kick start to my interest in photography. At the time I was doing my master’s thesis in zoology (on the behavioural ecology of Columbian ground squirrels) and I needed to learn how to make photos so that I could give slide shows to get grants to fund my research. Freeman’s book was not only my ‘how to’ guide to learn photography, but it also ended up being so much more. I saw that photography could be used for more than simple documentation; photography could be used for personal expression – very cool!

I was hooked on photography after reading Freeman’s book, so I decided to join a camera club to learn more. In September of 1986, I  joined Images Alberta Camera Club in Edmonton, Alberta. And this is where the second major influence on my photography entered my life. At the first meeting I saw a slide show by Daryl Benson. I was blown away! Not only did Daryl show amazing images but his work was so unique, expressive and refreshing – wow! I could barely sleep that night! Daryl’s images filled my head and my dreams. And so Daryl became my mentor, whether he liked it or not!

At the time Daryl was just freshly accepted into the stock agency, Masterfile, and was well on his way to becoming a full time photographer. For the next few years, Daryl and I went on numerous trips together and I learned from watching Daryl at work. At first I tried to emulate Daryl:  I tried to make images that were like Daryl’s. Of course I failed miserably. No one can be Daryl except Daryl himself. It was a hard lesson to learn. After some time I finally learned  that each photographer must find his or her own voice and be true to that voice by shooting for him or herself and not to shoot to please others or to emulate others.

I was recently reminded of Daryl’s amazing talent as a visual artist as I watched his recent presentations at FotoExpo in Moncton, New Brunswick. Daryl is and has always been the consummate artist who is driven by ‘voices in his head ‘and ‘tugs at his lapels’ that force him to create his unique imagery that is unlike anything that anyone else creates. In my opinion, Daryl is Canada’s most creative photographic visual artist. His ‘works’ always inspires, amazes and humbles me. For those who have not seen Daryl’s website, his books or attended his inspirational presentations, I highly recommend all of them, anytime. Period. Thanks, Daryl for all you have done to help grow the photographic community in Canada and beyond.  I would also like to thank you on a personal level:  I am indebted to you for your patience, sharing and mentorship. To learn more about Daryl see this interview.


©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson


©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson

©Daryl Benson



9 Responses to “Photographer of the Month – Daryl Benson”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by photo blog feeds, photo feeds. photo feeds said: When I first got started in photography back in 1986, I recall two major influences on my development as a photogr… […]

  2. And here I am having the privilege to hear both Freeman Patterson and Daryl Benson (and of course yourself) speak within the past 2 weekends. It has been a wild 7 days of inspirational photography.

    I found Daryl to be a very powerful speaker. You can see his passion about his photography, but he sells himself as a very passionate presenter as well. He has forever changed how I now look at his books knowing the personality that comes from behind each page.

    Side note: Sure, nobody cares about the bio but I for one, found this background story to be very interesting.

    • Wow! lucky you seeing Daryl and Freeman back-to-back.

      It was great to meet you in Moncton. thanks for hanging out with the ‘old boys’! May our paths continue to cross.


  3. Darwin, nice piece on Daryl. His work is very creative and very inspirational. I’ve always loved the advice he mentions in his books “drink upstream from the herd.” It is sound advice. Hope to meet him someday along with some other guy from Alberta 🙂

  4. Daryl Benson’s work has remained one of the greatest influences in my visual development over the years. His imagery is always breath-taking and serves as a continual source of inspiration.

    The preceeding imagery only begins to scratch the surface of the visual genius that Daryl Benson is.

  5. I can still remember the first time I laid eyes on Outdoor Photographer magazine back in the 90s and it had a glorious full-colour image on it that just wowed me. Imagine my surprise when I learned the guy who had taken the shot was living right next to me here in Alberta! Daryl has easily been one of the biggest landscape influences in my career. Great piece, Darwin.

  6. Dale Wilson Says:

    I have had the good fortune of knowing Daryl as a travel companion, speaking partner, source of contagious inspiration, and most importantly, friend, for some 20 years.

    When many of us were thinking about doing something, Daryl was already doing it. He had, and continues to have, an incredible vision – both metaphorically and literally.

    I too would like to take this public forum to express my gratitude and thanks, Daryl, for your unfettered enthusiasm and unselfish sharing of ideas.

  7. I was recently informed about your world class photoography and indeed it is . I am a lawyer and doctor by training, now back to my first real true love of mine; which is book writing. I was told that you may be able to potentially help with some illustrations in the matter of some new canadian bks.
    perhaps we can discuss some things.
    In any event, I must say that I trully marvelled at the excellence of your work. It had a visual syncope like nothing else that I have been exposed to in this lifetime. You really do scintillate in your domain as a photographer of world class !

    Lovely work You deserve a nobel prize.!

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