12/09/1991 at 01:00 AM EST
THE MAN WHO SNAPPED DANIEL ORTEGA IN A METS cap, Lee Iacocca being Lectured by his mom, and Donald Trump cradling a million in cash, Harry Benson, 61, brings a bracing irreverence—and the instincts of a mongoose—to the task of photographing celebrities. "I'm on my guard from the moment I start," says the Glasgow-born New Yorker (husband to Gigi and dad to Tessa, 13, and Wendy, 19). "If you gel too close or know too much about them, you won't push them around enough." After 40 years of shooting for PEOPLE, LIFE and Vanity Fair, he knows just how far to go. In his new book, People: Photographs by Harry Benson, he demonstrates the power of his arm's-length perspective.