Good Times story written by Greg Archer
She Came, She Saw, She Shot Photos.
If a picture is really worth a thousand words then, so, too, must a profile be on a person who takes pictures. That’s 22 words. Well, technically you’ve just read nine more… Actually, let’s add three more to that list, but there’s this stickler about AP style, which prefers you spell out any number under 10 and then use figures for anything over 10 and in the explaining of all this we must have eaten a total of 85 words—or perhaps 80, because numbers really aren’t words and there have been about five numbers thus far and if you really want to go uber editor on yourself, whenever you use ellipses, in some circles it’s considered a word, a word whose definition in the Random House Dictionary suggests that it is the “omission from a grammatical construction from a word or phrase understandable from the context.” I prefer the first six words in the second definition of ellipses, which reads, “a mark or series of marks,” which brings us to the very subject of this profile about a local woman whose significant “marks” captured the delicious history of rock music in a titular Santa Cruz music palace—a music palace now showcasing more than 40 life-sized portraits of the very music titans that have fueled her work.
I’m talking about Michèle Benson and, much like dabbling in counting words in paragraphs, her photography career smacks of a sort of free-flowing affair whose journey is as unpredictable as its final destination.
I’m talking about Michèle Benson and, much like dabbling in counting words in paragraphs, her photography career smacks of a sort of free-flowing affair whose journey is as unpredictable as its final destination. To understand how an award-winning photographer like Benson found the right groove at The Catalyst, which has been like Viagra on the popular music scene over the last three decades, it’s best to go by way of Crosby Stills & Nash because that’s where it all began, more or less, for Benson. It’s the early ’70s in Miami, Fla., and in a crazy-cool-sort-of-cosmic blending of CSN’s “Where Will I Be?” track—Where will I be when I go back home? Who will I see when I’m all alone? And what’ll I do? – and the vernacular of, say, “Southern Cross”—Spirits are using me…larger voices callin’….What heaven brought you and me…Cannot be forgotten—a teenage Benson pulls out of a parking lot and, literally, runs into while the decision firmly planted Benson’s feet in some fertile soil—was there a better place to be to experience live music in the ’70s than Santa Cruz? – it actually married her love of music with her passion for photography. David Crosby. “It was my first concert,” Benson notes. “The band was coming down the sidewalk going to the gig and I bumped into them – David Crosby. That was before the concert.
Then I realized who I was talking to and I asked if I could take their picture and they said yes and that was the beginning. There are no accidents, are there?” Only ones with mixed blessings apparently. It was at the Miami concert that Benson, armed with a “little, itty bitty Minox Camera,” began to really experiment with a photography interest actually married her love of music with her passion for photography.
"While the decision firmly planted Benson's feet in some fertile soil — was there a better place to experience live music in the '70s than Santa Cruz? — it actually married her love of music with her passion for photography."