Whether you are are looking for inspiration, or simply dabbling or interested photography, we have a list of notable photographers who are worth looking up! Each photographer on this list is known for their quality of work, and most of them have influenced the field of photography and its culture as we know it today. Here is a list of some of the best photographers of all time.
1. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri was known for his photojournalistic style, and has influenced photography greatly. He was one of the first of his kind to switch to a 35mm format, as well as exclusively using a 50mm lens. He shot almost exclusively in black and white. Twenty-nine years before he passed away, he gave up the art of photography altogether and began painting.
2. Annie Liebovitz
Annie Liebovitz is a contemporary portrait photographer, whose work has been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine as well as Vanity Fair. She is invested in the emotional story behind her intimate portraits. She says, “A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.”
3. Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams is debatably the most famous photographers of all time. Known for his black and white landscapes, Adams famously utilized dodging and burning in the lightroom to create beautiful, high-contrast photos. In his later years, Adams felt trapped because he began losing his physical strength and stamina needed to continuing pursuing his photography.
4. Brian Duffy
Brian Duffy was a fashion photographer, known for his work in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Later in his life, he burned more than half of his portfolio of negatives in a fire. He had lost his interest in photography altogether, but picked it back up one year before he passed away.
5. DOROTHEA LANGE
Dorothea Lange was a photographer who was best known for her photos of the Great Depression. An American photojournalist, she also poured herself into her work, focusing on the internment camps in the 1040’s. She believed in picking a theme, and working it to exhaustion…”The subject must be something you truly love or truly hate.”
6. YOUSEF KARSH
In the eyes of Yousef Karsh, every single photograph and frame is a masterpieces. He is the Ansel Adams of portraiture. In his own words, “Within every man and woman a secret is hidden, and as a photographer, it is my task to reveal it if I can. The revelation, if it comes at all, will come in a small fraction of a second with an unconscious gesture, a gleam of the eye, a brief lifting of the mask that all humans wear to conceal their innermost selves from the world. In that fleeting interval of opportunity the photographer must act or lose his prize”. Interestingly, Karsh believed that the hands were a vital part of the story, and so he lit them separately from everything else.
Gyula Halasz was a photographer whose work was known for his shots of the streets of Paris. His photography wasn’t about status or fame; his street photography of regular, every day people earned him notoriety over time. He lived in Paris most of his life, and didn’t travel very frequently. While Paris is an easy place to capture beauty, it’s inspiring that he was able to capture so much in one city.
8. ROBERT CAPA
Robert Capa is known for his war photography. I covered the span of five different wars, including WWII. Additionally, Capa was an amazing businessman, and co-founded Magnum Photos. He worked in tandem with a partner, shooting and doing darkroom work. His partner did the sales and marketing. They agreed to sell the photos under the name “Robert Capa”, rather than his real name, Endre Friedman.
9. JAY MAISEL
Jay Maisel is a famous modern photographer. He uses complex lighting setups and fancy gear juxtaposes his simple approach to photography. He ironically shoots with one lens and looks for interesting light and shapes around cities. He is inspiring for those of us who have limited gear. He encourages us to worry less about the equipment, and focus on things like color, shape and light. Focus on the little things, and find beauty in them.
10. JERRY UELSMAN
Jerry Uelsman became famous, mostly because of his darkroom skills. He is known for a style in which he uses multiple images to create a surreal / impressionist image. He primarily built his work using film. Although he is still alive, he has not switched to digital photography. He says, “I feel my creative process remains intrinsically linked to the alchemy of the darkroom.”
In conclusion, these photographers are a great place to start if you are looking for a reason to stay motivated and inspired in your photography. Enjoy!