Photography is like an art that should not be practiced in an echo chamber. To become better at your craft you should have to see what other artists are doing with their photography. This is one of the best ways through which people can grow and develop their specific skill sets. Trying to emulate the work of famous photographers is not theft, it is simply a practice of your skills. The process of creating something new and unique originates from this practice.
If you are an aspiring photographer and if you want to learn from the best, then you just have to take a look at these top photographers who have achieved a lot in a short period of time. If you really want to take memorable and moving pictures, you can learn something by studying photographs of famous photographers. Some of the most loved artists are deceased, but some are still cheering us on with their photos.
World’s Most Famous Photographers
So now, let’s take a look below to know more about the best 30 photographers who have shaped the world of photography with the help of their amazing photographs.
30 Most Famous Photographers
Here in this section, we are going to share the complete information regarding 30 most famous photographers who rocked the world of photography with their innovative ideas and amazing talent. So now, let’s take a look below to know more about them individually.
Sebastiao Salgado was born on 8th February 1944 in Aimores that comes in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Mainly, he is known as a Brazilian social documentary photographer and photojournalist.
In his 50 years’ career, Salgado has published several books, but among them, some of the most iconic books are Other Americas, Genesis, Workers, and Terra.
For his photographic projects, he has traveled to more than 120 countries. Most of these have comes in many books and press publications. The touring exhibitions of his work have been presented worldwide.
Salgado is a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF. In the year of 1982, he was awarded the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Grant. In the year of 1992, he got the Foreign Honorary Membership of the American Academy of Arts and Science and in the year of 1993, he got the Centennial Medal and the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.
In the year of 2014, a documentary film, “The Salt of the Earth” was released about his life journey which was directed by Wim Wenders, who is one of the most famous European directors and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, who is the son of Sebastiao Salgado.
Peter Lindbergh was born on 23rd November 1944 in Lissa (Leszno), Reichsgau Wartheland, German-occupied Poland. Mainly, he is known as a German fashion photographer and film director. He spent his childhood days in Duisburg and he died on 3rd September 2019 in Paris, France.
In the world where digital manipulation is one of the inseparable parts of photography, still, there are some photographers who completely refuse to polish their photographs. Peter Lindbergh was one of them. His photographs are mainly known for his soulful, authentic, and natural-looking portraits.
With his work, he had introduced a new concept of beauty which is raw and realistic. Because of this achievement, he was considered a pioneer in contemporary photography.
Guy Bourdin was born on 2nd December 1928 in Paris, France. He was a French fashion photographer and he was mainly known for his provocative images. He died on 29th March 1991 in Paris, France.
Mostly, Guy Bourdin had worked with the Vogue and other publications including Harper’s Bazaar. He had also shot many ad campaigns for Charles Jourdan, Chanel, Bloomingdale’s and Pentax.
With his ultra-real colors, surreal aesthetics, and precise compositions, he defined the conventions of fashion photography.
The work that had been done by Guy Bourdin is collected by some of the important institutions which are MoMA, Tate in London, Getty Museum and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is known as one of the most famous photographers of fashion and advertising for the second half of the 20th century.
Michael Kenna was born in the year 1953 in the small industrial town of Widnes in the northwest of England. He is an English photographer and he is mainly known for his extraordinary work in the landscape genre that takes shot in black and white, and the images that have been captured by him convey a feeling of serenity and calmness.
The photographs that have been taken by him focus on the interaction between the largely atmospheric state of the natural landscape, and human-made structures and sculptural mass.
Michael Kenna has also awarded numerous awards including the “Honorary Master of Arts”, and his work has been exhibited in Australia, Europe, and Asia.
Henri Cartier – Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson was born on 22nd August 1908 in Chanteloup-en-Brie, Seine-et-Marne, France. He was a French humanist photographer who is mainly known as a master of candid photography as well as the first user of 35 mm film. He died on 3rd August 2004 in Cereste, France. He is also known as one of the founders of the Magnum Photos in 1947.
He was always with his Leica which was the perfect device to catch the fleeting moment and due to this, he was also known as “the velvet hand…the hawk’s eye”.
Richard Avedon was born on 15th May 1923 in New York City. He was an American photographer who is mainly known as a fashion and portrait photographer. He died on 1st October 2004 in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
At a very young age, Richard Avedon developed a passion for photography. He was just 12 years old when he joined the Young Men’s Hebrew Association Camera Club.
When he started to work for Harper’s Bazaar, he used to deny the environment of the studio. He loved taking photographs of models on the street, at the circus, or on the beach. And these things made his portraits natural and it gave a different look to his work which was highly appreciated.
Ansel Adams was born on 20th February 1902 in San Francisco, California. He was a landscape photographer and environmentalist who was known for his black and white images of the American West. He died on 22nd April 1984 in Monterey, California.
Ansel Adams is mainly for his realistic approach that includes sharp focus, precise exposure, and high contrast. In the 1920s, he was one of the first photographers who avoid pictorialism, the aesthetic movement that dominated photography.
He developed his own photographic technique which is known as the Zone System, which is a method of getting the perfect final print through a deep understanding of the tonal range.
Steve McCurry was born on 24th February 1950 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is an American Photographer and he is also known as a freelancer and photojournalist. One of the most popular photos that have been taken by him is the “Afghan Girl”, the piercing green-eyed girl who periodically appears on the cover of the National Geographic.
He has also covered some armed conflicts such as the Cambodian Civil War, the Lebanon Civil War, and the Iran-Iraq War.
Passing the years he faced some very dangerous situations, which led to him losing his life. He survived an airplane crash in Yugoslavia and nearly drowned in India. Today, he is respected worldwide and contributes to renowned magazines throughout the world.
Erwin Olaf was born on 2nd July 1959 in Hilversum, Netherlands. He is a Dutch photographer who is mainly known for his commercial and personal work.
Some of his most famous series is “Grief”, “Hope”, “Rain”, and “Royal Blood” which are the true representation of his visual style.
The things that you can see on the body of his work are Theatrical compositions, dramatic lighting, complex narratives, and stillness.
Georg Gerster was born on 30th April 1928 in Winterthur. He was a Swill journalist who was mainly known as a pioneer aerial photographer. He died on 8th February 2019. The photographs that had been taken by him not only capture the beauty of nature, but also have an impact that humans have on it.
Technology development, excessive use, and erosion have all been captured and documented through his lens.
Jimmy Nelson was born in the year of 1967 in Sevenoaks, Kent, England. He is an English photographer who is mainly known for his portraits of tribal and indigenous peoples. One of the most significant projects of Jimmy Nelson that is ongoing is the “Before They Pass Away”.
He has done his photography in more than 35 tribes throughout the world and he has also traveled to many locations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South Africa.
He has been also accused of implicating the people in their photographs so that the photographs look good for the image, but without investing time to get to know them and their culture as well.
Eugenio Recuenco was born in the year of 1968. He is a Spanish photographer who is mainly known for its works in the publishing and advertising fields. As compared to others, the personal style of Eugenio Recuenco referred to as “pictorial” and “cinematographic”.
The work that has been done by him is also be described as a very detailed and cinematic way and it has been also featured in magazines such as GQ, Vogue, and Vanity Fair.
He loves to create an elaborate environment for his subject, containing multiple references to art history. He specializes in light and shadow to such an extent that he is also compared to the EI Greco and Goya.
Dominique Issermann was born on 11th April 1947. She is a French photographer who is mainly known for her works in fashion, portraits, and advertising. She has done her photography for Christian Dior, Sonia Rykiel, Nina Ricci, Lancome, Guess, La Perla, Chanel, Tiffany, and many others.
Dominique Issermann is also known for her intimate black and white portraits which are one of the most powerful portraits in their simplicity. The work that has been done by him is also compared to the Renaissance painters.
She has also portrayed many iconic French film stars such as Gerard Depardieu, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Adjani, Lea Seydoux, and Marion Cotillard.
Tim Flach was born in London. He is a British photographer who is mainly known for his studio photography of animals and he is also involved in wildlife conservation.
Five books have been published by him which are Equus in 2008, Dog Gods in 2010, More Than Human in 2012, Evolution in 2013, and Endangered in 2017. His favorite subjects to the photograph are the members of the horses, canine family, tigers, pandas, bears, primates, and predatory birds.
The work that has been done by him also appears in Creative Review, National Geographic, The New York Times, The New Scientist, and The Guardian.
Ellen von Unwerth
Ellen von Unwerth was born on 17th January 1954 in Frankfurt, Germany. She is a German photographer and director who is mainly known for her work in erotic femininity.
Ellen von Unwerth is an orphan and due to this, she has difficult early years. In her teenage, she has spent three years as an assistant of a magician in the local circus. When she was twenty years old, she has decided to make her career in modeling.
After being a successful model, she has started photography and combined her photography with her experience in the fashion world.
Imogen Cunningham was born on 12th April 1883 in Portland, Oregon, U.S. She was an American photographer who was mainly known for her nudes, botanical photography, and industrial landscapes. She died on 23rd June 1976 in San Francisco, California, U.S.
She was also a member of the Group f/64 which was the California based group and the group known for its dedication to the sharp focus rendition of the simple subjects.
The little known fact about Imogen Cunningham is that she also loved to take photographs of human subjects and she was particularly fascinated by the hands of musicians and artists.
Andreas Gursky was born on 15th January 1955 in Leipzig, East Germany. He is a German photographer and he is also a professor at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, Germany. He is mainly known for his large-format photographs that include architecture, landscape, or aerial views.
In his work, you will find the sense of vastness that comes due to the digital enhancements in post-production. The author has been fairly honest about the fact that he has been digitally manipulating in the photographs of Andreas Gursky, but these things definitely do not decrease the value of his photographs.
Dorothea Lange was born on 26th May 1895 in Hoboken, New Jersey, U.S. She was an American documentary photographer as well as a photojournalist and she was mainly known for her Depression-era work for the FSA (Farm Security Administration). She died on 11th October 1965 in San Francisco, California, U.S.
One of the most iconic photographs that were taken by her during the Great Depression, which is entitled “Migrant Mother” and that depicts a worried mother who was living in a slim tent with her young kid. The photographs that had been taken by the Dorothea Lange, influenced the development of documentary photography and the photographs humanized the results of the Great Depression.
Gregory Crewdson was born on 26th September 1962 in Brooklyn, New York. He is an American photographer who is mainly known for his contemporary photography.
The visual style of Gregory Crewdson is unmistakable. The photographs that have been taken by him, has a very strong cinematic expression and a frightening feeling of the lingering hopelessness. The subjects that are taken by Gregory Crewdson are rarely shot close-up.
Annie Leibovitz was born on 2nd October 1949 in Waterbury, Connecticut, U.S. She is an American portrait photographer and she is mainly known for her engaging portraits of celebrities that are intimate and honest.
Annie Leibovitz was the last professional photographer to photograph John Lennon and Yoko Ono before Lennon’s murder on 8th December 1980.
In the year of 1991, at Washington’s National Portrait Gallery, she became the first woman who holds an exhibition.
David LaChapelle was born on 11th March 1963 in Hartford, Connecticut, United States. He is an American commercial photographer, music video director, fine-art photographer, and film director. He is mainly known for his art history photography.
The photos that have been taken by him have such a distinctive style that it is not difficult for the photographer to recognize when you see them.
The subjects that are taken by him are often very famous: Whitney Houston, Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, and Lady Gaga are just a few of the celebrities posing for David LaChapelle.
Gerda Taro was born on 1st August 1910 in Stuttgart, Germany. She was a German Jewish war photographer who was especially known for her disturbing photographs that had been taken during the Spanish Civil War. She died on 26th July 1937 in Brunete, Madrid, Spanish Republic.
She was the first female photojournalist who died during her working periods. She was romantically involved with the great Robert Capa and they both had felled in love and died on the front-line.
Robert Capa was born on 22nd October 1913 in Budapest, Austria-Hungary. He was a Hungarian photojournalist as well as a war photographer who had risked his life many times to capture the photos of the soldiers in action. He died on 25th May 1954 in Thai Binh Province, Vietnam.
His spouse Gerda Taro had the same profession. As we have mentioned above she died at a very young age, her career greatly influenced photojournalism.
Edward Weston was born on 24th March 1886 in Highland Park, Illinois. He was a 20th-century American photographer who is considered one of the most innovative and influential American photographers of all time. He died on 1st January 1958 in Carmel Highlands, California.
Some of the most famous photographs that had been taken by him include photographs of seashells, peppers, and cabbage leaves, which are taken in the way that you will find it mystical and almost erotic.
A true study of the light, form, and texture, the photographs that had been taken by him are captivating in their peculiarity.
William Eggleston was born on 27th July 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee. He is an American photographer who is mainly known for his color photography. William Eggleston was the one who inspired Alex Prager to start his career in photography. The books that have been written by William Eggleston are William Eggleston’s Guide in 1976 and The Democratic Forest in 1989.
William Eggleston’s favorite subjects that you will find are one-way signs, empty Coca-Cola bottles, old tires, torn posters, vending machines, and power lines. By his photographs, he creates the face of the mundane world where we live in and he proves that the trivial can also be complex and poetic. He is also known as a pioneer in color photography.
Alex Prager was born on 1st November 1979 in Los Angeles, CA, USA. She is an American art photographer as well as a filmmaker and she is mainly known for her staged color photos that are reminiscent of the movie scenes.
The photographs that have been taken by her mainly use the staged models, actors, and extras to create a “meticulously designed mise en scene”.
The photographs that had been taken by her, have been displayed in Stockholm, New York, Australia, Paris, San Francisco, and many more.
Sally Mann was born on 1st May 1951 in Lexington, Virginia, United States. She is an American photographer who is mainly known for her large-format, black and white photographs.
The work that had been done by Sally Mann, is often described as a controversial that explore the delicate age between childhood and adulthood and create a thin line between them. One of the most iconic achievements of Sally Mann is the “Immediate Family” which is her third collection which was first screened in Chicago in the year 1990.
In her photographic collection, you will find 65 black and white photographs of Mann’s children, who were less than ten years old at that time. The photographs explore the ordinary summer activities, such as playing board games or swimming. They also focus on very deep themes such as death, loneliness, sexuality, and injury.
Martin Parr was born on 23rd May 1952 in Epsom, Surrey, England. He is a British documentary photographer, photobook collector, and photojournalist who is mainly known for his photographic projects that includes a satirical, intimate, and anthropological look. The photographs that have been taken by Martin Parr are far from dreamy, fairytale-like or flattering.
The major projects that have been done by him are rural communities, The Last Resort, Small World, The Cost of Living, and Common Sense. Martin Parr successfully blends irony, criticism, and humor in his photographs to create his unmistakable style.
Some of the topics he focuses on include consumption and meaningless leisure activities. The subjects that are taken by him are often based on ordinary middle-class citizens.
Tim Walker was born in the year of 1970 in England. He is a British fashion photographer. The work that has been done by Tim Walker goes beyond the normal boundaries of creativity. It is simply wild fantasy away from the imagination.
Some of the famous wonders that have been discovered by him are a small plane with a giant pilot that crashing in the living room, flying saucers, and giant swans.
Tim Walker has also photographed a large number of world-famous designers, actors, and directors. The world’s famous celebrities who have been photographed by Tim Walker are Helena Bonham Carter, Tilda Swinton, Emma Watson, Tim Burton, Vivienne Westwood, and David Lynch.
Gregory Colbert was born in 1960 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a Canadian photographer and filmmaker who is mainly known as the creator of the Ashes and Snow, the famous exhibition has its own house called the Nomadic Museum. The structure was mainly designed by a Japanese architect with the idea of traveling the world, never settling down with its precious cargo.
If you believe that as human beings we should never stop to explore, you would probably really inspire by Gregory Colbert’s words:
“I have been tusked by an elephant, almost eaten by a sperm whale, knocked off my feet by a rhinoceros, embraced by a jaguar, given a haircut by a tiger shark, chased by a hippo and a black mamba, brought to my knees by malaria and Dengue… but I was able to avoid the greatest danger of all. Never stop exploring the things that open you, or that you love.”
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