The Photographic Travels of Roloff Beny

Roloff Beny in his Rome apartment, 1971

Often referred to as “a poetic photographer,” Roloff Beny was a passionate world traveler, and spent much of his life traveling and photographing the places and people he met there. The Canadian travel photographer and painter was born on this day January 7, 1924 in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. Beny was an international photographer, but highly valued for his Canadian photography, for which he received the Order of Canada decoration.

Redwoods in Rain Forests, British Columbia | Roloff Beny

In honor of the photographer, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) named a gallery for Roloff Beny in 1993, and hosted the exhibit “Visual Journeys: The Photography of Roloff Beny” the next year.

Roloff Beny

Magic hour is not the time to be in a restaurant.

-Roloff Beny
Roloff Beny

A 1976 Maclean’s article summed up his lifestyle as this, Beny was “one of the world’s most celebrated photographers, with international honours, a sumptuous five-floor penthouse in Rome overlooking the Tiber and friends to turn a name-dropper green with envy.” Artists Laurence Olivier, Jean Cocteau, Rose Macaulay, Stephen Spender, and Bernard Berenson were all part if his circle of friends.

Coco Chanel, in her Paris apartment, 1959 | Roloff Beny

Aside from taking some of the finest travel photos, Beny’s portrait photography captured some of the most intriguing personalities of his time, including writers Tennessee Williams, Noel Coward, Gore Vidal, and Truman Capote; actors Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor; musician Leonard Cohen; and public figures the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Coco Chanel, Peggy Guggenheim, Sonja Bata, Rudolph Nureyev, and Pierre Trudeau.

%d bloggers like this: