PASSION BEHIND THE SHUTTER

by STACEY MARCUS

Miami photographer H. allen Benowitz was inspired the moment he picked up his first Minox camera as a young boy. After more than four decades as a leader in the court reporting world, the self-taught photographer returned to his passion to create award-winning photographs.

As a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, New York, H. Allen Benowitz had an eye for telling stories through photography. “Someone at the Pride of Judea Children’s Home gave me a Minox spy camera. I took candid photos of kids in dorms through unhinged door cracks. They produced very humorous results,” he recalls. The older boys invited him into the darkroom, and he began experimenting with black-and-white photography. While the sparks of a passion for photography were ignited, it would be decades before Benowitz would circle back to light the fire.

As a young man, Benowitz put his camera and sleuth skills aside to attend Interboro Institute of Business in Manhattan on a scholarship. He then spent more than four decades in the court reporting world, serving as president of H. Allen Benowitz & Associates, Inc. for 30 years, next as owner and president of Worldwide Videoconferencing Corp., and then as vice president of Veritext Florida Reporting Company.

Benowitz stayed connected to photography through videoconferencing and legal videography, as well as by creating photo albums for his clients, following international travel assignments. “In the late 1990s, a number of attorneys approached me to get back into photography,” says Benowitz. He had his first photography exhibition in 2003 at Mayfair in Coconut Grove in Miami. “I used my marketing skills to promote the exhibition and over 175 people attended. I sold 24 pieces at the opening reception and was very encouraged,” notes Benowitz.

Since his debut exhibition, Benowitz has shown his collections at more than 50 exhibitions in Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and Florida; had his work featured in museums and galleries; garnered numerous prestigious photography awards; and he’s traveled the world to photograph landscapes, wildlife, people, architecture and adventure. “I only take a picture when there is passion behind the shutter,” he notes, commenting that his signature style can be recognized by its depth and texture and ability to draw the viewer into the picture, bringing the still image to life.

Benowitz’s highly acclaimed photo Behind the Wall garnered national recognition at Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation’s Holocaust Remembrance Project awards dinner in Washington, D.C. Further accolades include a Judges’ Award at the UM Lowe Art Museum’s Beaux Arts Festival; honorable mention, International Kodak Contest; and he was an award winner for “La Medina Archway” in the American Institute of Architect’s international competition. He is a repeat finalist in the International Color Awards Photo Competition.

A good example of his style is his work Cigar Lady, taken in Cuba. Set against a sunflower-yellow background, the woman is enjoying an afternoon nap on a chair in a street in Old Havana. Donning a blue hat with a huge red flower, her colorful fan is draped on her lap as she inhales on what looks like a foot-long cigar. The photograph received seven awards and was displayed at a private reception at the Louvre in Paris.

One of his most treasured assignments was when King Mohammed VI of Morocco asked him to photograph his country’s annual festival, Moussem de Tan-Tan. “It was a true honor to give my work to the King as a gift,” says Benowitz. He is also quite proud of the number and prestige of awards and honors he has received—40 in the last five years.

“I hope that people feel a similar passion to mine when they look at my work. If my photographs evoke a connection, I have succeeded in sharing my work with others,” says Benowitz.

Stacey Marcus is a Boston-based freelance lifestyle, luxury and travel writer. Her works have appeared in Art New England, Boston magazine, Boston Common Magazine, Modern Luxury Chicago, Ocean Home Magazine, Playboy.com, RD.com and many others. A lover of big words and little white dogs, Stacey’s biggest joys are found in life’s simple moments.