"Even if you've never seen Nathan Benn's photographs from the 1970s, they feel somehow familiar--like the refrain of a half-remembered song. With a uniquely American mix of formality and ease, and a color palette so tart you can almost taste it, Benn makes the past vividly--even painfully--present. So there's nothing nostalgic about his pictures of parades, homecomings, and town meetings, juke joints and barbershops, front porches and back roads, because you are there. Maybe that's why KODACHROME MEMORY: American Pictures 1972-1990 feels like an instant classic." --Vince Aletti
As America huffed its way to the end of the '70s, a profound cultural change was taking place. Kodachrome Memory: American Pictures 1972–1990 depicts an America of boisterous legend and vibrant regionalism, teetering on the cusp of the coming Information Age's great cultural flattening.
Nathan Benn embraced color photography before it was considered an acceptable medium for serious documentary expression. Revisiting his archive of photography for National Geographic Magazine, he discovered hundreds of unpublished pictures that appeared inconsequential to editors of the 1970s and 1980s, but now resonate with empathic perspectives on everyday life in forgotten neighborhoods.
"The seeming inconsequential subject of Benn’s photographs - which are keenly observed and evocative of a time and place - act as metaphors for American culture and values. Although much of Benn’s work was done for a magazine and not gallery walls, his use of color throughout holds its own with artists of the period such as William Eggleston and Stephen Shore." -- Richard Buckley
Born in Miami, Florida in 1950, Benn graduated from the University of Miami with degrees in psychology and mass communications. Immediately thereafter he became a photographer for the National Geographic Society with 300 of his images published in National Geographic Magazine and numerous book contributions over twenty years. He was the Director of Magnum Photos, Inc. from 2000-2002 where he produced the award-winning books RFK Funeral Train and New York September 11 by Magnum Photographers. In September 2013 PowerHouse Books published his monograph Kodachrome Memory: American Pictures 1972-1990. He lives with his wife, a fine arts photographer, and son in Brooklyn.