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BENSON, Dorothy

Montreal, Quebec, 1901
Kingston, Ontario, 1996
Biography synopsis
In 1936 Dorothy Benson joined the Montreal Camera Club (MCC) to improve her photography. At the beginning of World War II, she left Montreal to join the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service where her photography skills served to document the activities of a training establishment in Galt, Ontario with over 3000 pictures. Upon her return to Montreal, Benson became an active member of the MCC and eventually served as the Club's first female president from 1965-67. In the early 1970s, she moved to Kingston, Ontario where she became a devoted member of the Kingston Photographic Club (KPC), helping younger members with their technique and editing the Club's newsletter"Camera Capers". Benson's preferred subject was wildlife; she would go to great lengths (braving nesting birds, stinging jelly fish and tough terrain) to capture animals through her lens. Her camera accompanied her on the countless camping excursions and canoe trips she undertook as a Girl Guide leader. Two trophies awarded annually to the MCC and the KPC's top nature photographers bear her name.
Media used
Vermont School of Photography
Montreal Camera Club, 1936 (president 1965-67)
Kingston Photographic Club, 1970
Toronto Guild of Photography
File & Archive locations
Queen's University Archives, ON
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, ON
Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston, ON
McCord Museum Archives, QC
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC

Writings about
"Our New President." Cameragram (Montreal) 1965.
Caron, Blossom. History of the Montreal Camera Club, 1893-1981 Westmount, Quebec: Montreal Camera Club, 1981
Deans, Barbara and Yseult Mounsey. Women's World Exhibition of Photography. Montreal, Quebec: Montreal Camera Club, 1967.
Fitsell, Bill. "Fitsell's People: Dorothy Benson." Kingston Whig-Standard 29 Jan. 1999.
Langford, Martha. Suspended Conversations: The Afterlife of Memory in Photographic Albums. Montreal; Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2001.
Lee, Jerry. "Photography is 'Art' with Light for Paint Claims Camerawoman." Montreal Star 25 Nov. 1961: 17.
Ward, Olivia. "Photographer Sees Nature Unfold." Gazette (Montreal) 17 Sept. 1965: 38,3679306.

Writings by
Benson, Dorothy. "Camera Capers." Kingston Photographic Club Newsletter February, 1975: 2.
Benson, Dorothy. "Camera Capers." Kingston Photographic Club Newsletter April, 1977: 2.
Benson, Dorothy. "Camera Capers." Kingston Photographic Club Newsletter January 1975: 2.
Benson, Dorothy. "Some Thoughts of a Nature Photographer." Cameragram (Montreal) ?.
Benson, E. Dorothy. Come Camping Montreal, Quebec: Quebec Council of the Girl Guides Association, 1954.

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