A LIFE’S WORK
Benedict J. Fernandez
Benedict J. Fernandez, Biography
Benedict J. Fernandez is a renowned photo journalist and educator. With this exhibit, A Life’s Work, we celebrate 70 years of seeing the world through the lens of his camera. Ben was born in New York City. He was given a Kodak Brownie camera at the age of 6 and he has had one in his hand ever since.
Ben founded the Photo-Film Workshop at Joe Papp’s Public Theater in 1969. From there he was tapped to set up and develop Photography Departments at The New School and Parsons School of Design. He remained Chair of both Departments until 1992, when he stepped down in order to pursue his photo project in Europe as a Senior Fulbright Research Fellow in Photography. Ben is also the founder of Almanac Photography, his studio, and Almanac Gallery of Photography, both currently active.
Among his many awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Fellowship in the National Academy of Arts and Sciences in China and recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship. Ben’s books include: In Opposition: the Right to Dissent,1 968; Countdown to Eternity, 1993: I Am a Man,1996; and Protest,1996.
Fernandez’s work is many museum collections including: The Museum of Modern Art, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The National Portrait Gallery, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, The Kennedy Library, The King Center in Atlanta, Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, Der Stadt Museum, Dortmund and George Eastman House as well as in and in many private collections.
Ben has been married to the same lady for 55 years. He has two grown children, Benedict and Tiina. He is also the proud Grandfather of James, Elizabeth, Noah, Leo, and Owen.
He divides his time between his studio in New Jersey and country home in upstate New York.
The title of this exhibit is misleading. In order to exhibit Benedict J. Fernandez’s body of work, one would have to hang it in Madison Square Garden and hope to have enough space. This exhibit is about images that have become iconic and recognized the world over, even if sometimes people have no idea of the identity of the photographer. The power of these Benedict J. Fernandez’s images is universal
What sets Fernandez’s work apart from other photo-journalists is that he always works alone on self-assigned projects. He does not belong to photo agencies and does not shoot on assignment. Throughout his long career, he self-selected projects he considered of importance and worked on them, without a deadline breathing down his neck, until he was satisfied with his body of work. Fernandez has produced portfolios, photo-essays and some of his images have become historic documents, especially his photographs of the protest movements of the 1960’s.
Benedict Fernandez is a photographer known the world over. His work has been exhibited in all 50 states. His shows have traveled to England, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Russia, Czech Republic, Finland, Japan,and China. Countdown to Eternity traveled to 27 African countries in addition to the above countries. Through these widely seen exhibitions many iconic images have emerged which form the basis of this show.
Benedict Fernandez’s work can be, at least in part, captured in 14 portfolios which include: Protest, Countdown To Eternity, Mental Poverty, Bikers, Shipyard, Ghosts of Ellis Island, Puerto Rico, The Newark Riots, Growing Up in Harlem, Joseph Papp and the Public Theater, Speakers Corner, Japan, Zahara Spain and China.
Benedict J. Fernandez
1252 Garden Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030