Thomas Hart Benton
© Joan Lansberry

July 15, 1998

This man stared out at me from the pages of Life's "Faces", a collection of photographs of people caught in telling moments. I had to listen to what Thomas Hart Benton (1889 - 1975) was saying. An artist, he was photographed almost every year by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. Eisenstaedt's photo of him featured a self portrait Benton had done. This was obviously a man who loved to have pictures made of himself. I figured I then had his blessing in capturing his essence yet another time.

Not only that, his face reminded me of another artist I had studied with in Joliet around 1973, the watercolorist John Hudak. Unfortunately I didn't practice much, so my father discontinued my lessons!