Bender obtained a BFA in Photography at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1965. He had previously studied sociology at Ohio State University (1961-63), advertising illustration at the Columbus College of Art and Design (1958-60) and journalism at Ohio State University (1956-57).
He has been a freelance photographer since 1970 and a columnist and contributing editor with Darkroom Photography Magazine since 1979. From 1973 to 1979 he worked as an instructor in the Department of Photography at City College in San Francisco and from 1967 to 1970 was the lab manager for Eye Now in the same city.
In 1977 he received a grant from the Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art . In 1972 he invented a variable interaxial stereoscopic camera system.
In 1979 the artist produced “A Study in Alternity," a stereoscopic multimedia production exploring dreams, hallucinations and visions, which premiered at the SPE National Conference.
His photographic work deals primarily with landscapes, executed in a formal superrealist style, and with hallucinatory dream imagery, executed in a surrealistic style in color. Bender is intensely involved in stereoscopic photography.
Bender is a member of SPE, the Association for Multi-Image, and the American Federation of Teachers.