If you want to take truly memorable and moving photographs, you can learn something by studying the pictures of famous photographers. Some of the most beloved artists are deceased, but some are still delighting us with their photographs. The list below includes some of the more famous photographers that still impact our lives today.
ANSEL ADAMS: is probably the most easily recognized name of any photographer. His landscapes are stunning; he achieved an unparalleled level of contrast using creative darkroom work. You can improve your own photos by reading Adams’ own thoughts as he grew older, when he wished that he had kept himself strong enough physically to continue his work.
YOUSUF KARSH: has taken photographs that tell a story, and that are more easily understood than many others. Each of his portraits tells you all about the subject. He felt as though there was a secret hidden behind each woman and man. Whether he captures a gleaming eye or a gesture done totally unconsciously, these are times when humans temporarily lose their masks. Karsh’s portraits communicate with people.
was a Hungarian-born American war photographer and photojournalist as well as the companion and professional partner of photographer Gerda Taro. He is considered by some to be the greatest combat and adventure photographer in history.
Capa fled political repression in Hungary when he was a teenager, moving to Berlin, where he enrolled in college. He witnessed the rise of Hitler, which led him to move to Paris, where he met and began to work with Gerta Pohorylle. Together they worked under the alias Robert Capa and became photojournalists. Though she contributed to much of the early work, she quickly created her own alias ‘Gerda Taro’ and they began to publish their work separately. He subsequently covered five wars: the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II across Europe, the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and the First Indochina War, with his photos published in major magazines and newspapers.
During his career he risked his life numerous times, most dramatically as the only civilian photographer landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He documented the course of World War II in London, North Africa, Italy, and the liberation of Paris. His friends and colleagues included Ernest Hemingway, Irwin Shaw, John Steinbeck and director John Huston.
In 1947, for his work recording World War II in pictures, U.S. general Dwight D. Eisenhower awarded Capa the Medal of Freedom. That same year, Capa co-founded Magnum Photos in Paris. The organization was the first cooperative agency for worldwide freelance photographers. Hungary has issued a stamp and a gold coin in his honor.
HENRI CARTIER- BRESSON has a style that makes him a natural on any top ten photographer list. His style has undoubtedly influenced photography as much as anyone else’s. He was among the first to use 35mm film, and he usually shot in black and white. We are not graced by more of his work, since he gave up the craft about 30 years before he passed away. It’s sad that there are fewer photographs by Cartier-Bresson to enjoy.
DORTHEA LANGE: took photographs during the Great Depression. She took the famous photo of a migrant mother, which is said to be one of the best-known photographs in history. In the 1940s, she also photographed the Japanese internment camps, and these photographs show sad moments in American history.
JERRY UELSMAN- created unique images with composite photographs. Being very talented in the darkroom, he used this skill in his composites. He never used digital cameras, since he felt that his creative process was more suited to the darkroom.
ANNIE LIEBOVITZ: does fine photographic portraits and is most well known for her work with Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone magazine. Her photographs are intimate, and describe the subject. She’s unafraid of falling in love with the people she photographed.
BRASSAI: is the pseudonym for Gyula Halasz, and he was well known for his photographs of ordinary people. He was proof that you don’t have to travel far to find interesting subjects. He used ordinary people for his subjects, and his photos are still captivating.
BRIAN DUFFY: was a British photographer who shot fashion in the 1960s and 70s. He lost his photographic interest at one time and burned many negatives, but then he began taking photos again a year before he died.
JAY MAISEL: is a famous modern photographer. His photos are simple; he doesn’t use complex lighting or fancy cameras. He often only takes one lens on photo outings, and he enjoys taking photos of shapes and lights that he finds interesting.