Maybe you knew Gene from Dog Shows...
This is my favorite dog show picture because of the little girl sitting in the background to the left and the older woman sitting in the background center.  Without them, this would be just another photograph, not unlike the thousands of others that my father took during his twenty year career as a dog show photographer.  Both spectators’ expressions declare my father’s presence, even though he is in fact absent in the 1950’s black and white photograph.  As if suddenly taken over by curiosity about the unsightly man behind the camera, the little girl makes a chair for herself from her box style purse and sits, silent and still.  When her eyes take in more than her curiosity can stand, she covers them with her hands. Perhaps she thinks what stands before her is not real, for there stands a man whose hands and face appear to have been melted by some fiendish fire.  It’s like she has never seen anything, let alone anyone, so frightening.  When her curiosity recovers, she lifts her hand to her brow and dares to look one more time, just as my father opens the shudder of his Rollieflex camera. This little one’s reaction to Gene’s appearance could have only sprouted from a natural curiosity and a desire to understand that which she had never seen before.  Life, I’m sure, would have been only a smidgen easier for my father if all reactions to his gruesomeness were that innocent.  
More often than not though, reactions to my father’s appearance were met much like that of the other spectator sitting in the center of the photograph.  This poor woman pleads reason for such a creature’s existence.  Her face is full of pity and dismay and her hand subdues the outburst that most assuredly lurks within her throat.   Hers is the reaction that occurred more often. If you have any photographs that Gene took, please feel free to scan them and email them to me. 
Please share any general or specific memories of Gene Bennett.  What you share may or may not be used in the biography, but your input is greatly appreciated. 

Gene became involved in dog shows in the mid 1950s.  At first, he coupled his photography skills with showing his prized Samoyed, Jiggs, but when traveling with the AKC shows became full time, Gene stopped showing and concentrated on capturing the best photographs on the circuit.  While other photographers had the latest technologies at their fingertips, Gene had to make do with what worked for his fingerless hands.  When other photographers held their cameras with one hand and a squeaky toy in the other to beg the dog’s attention, Gene stood in position and quietly loosened the heel of one shoe with the other.  When the time was right, Gene kicked his leg straight up, and his shoe flew through the air.  The dog tracked the flying object, and the fingerless photographer positioned himself with lightening speed and snapped the photograph, most times catching the dog’s best expression.  
No one in the ring bothered to fetch the photographer’s shoe, knowing such assistance was not necessary;  although Gene never minded if the dog retrieved it for him, as one handler had trained his golden retriever to do. Gene’s retirement letter- written and published in Kennel Review. December, 1978 email me