Famous Photographers

Taking a truly memorable photo is a skill that few people have. Whether it is photographing landscapes, wartime photos, major political figures or even botanical features, true photographers can tell a story with one simple picture. The list below includes some of the most famous photographers who have truly been able to make a single photo worth a thousand words.

Photographers of the 1800s

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Julia Margaret Cameron
Nationality: British
Known for: Portraits of Charles Darwin, Robert Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson and others
Developed the technique of “fancy portraits” using a soft-focus, which became her trademark. She is known for two types of photographs – pictures of allegories and framed closeup portraits.
Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904)
Nationality: English
Known for: Creating the first basic motion pictures
In 1867, Muybridge began his photography career by taking pictures of Yosemite National Park and other natural landscape features. He also traveled to Alaska so he could photograph the Tlingit tribe of Native Americans. While in San Francisco during the early 1870s, he also photographed the construction of the San Francisco Mint.
Edward Curtis (1868-1952)
Nationality: American
Known for: Portraying the Native Americans and American West through photos
Curtis chronicled the history of the Native Americans with extensive volumes of photos and even motion pictures. He received much of his financing for his work through J.P. Morgan to produce works like The North American Indian, In the Land of the Head Hunters, and more.

Photographers of the Early 1900s

Self-Portrait with Korona View, 1933 E Weston PaulStrand
Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976)
Nationality: American
Known for: Botanical photography and industrial landscapes
Cunningham worked for Vanity Fair photographing celebrities without their makeup. She worked for the magazine until it shut down in 1936. She was also a faculty member at the California School of Fine Arts with Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Minor White.
Edward Weston (1886-1958)
Nationality: American
Known for: Closeups of the natural form, including nudes, landscapes, and nature
During a 40-year career, Weston was the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work. He pioneered a style of photography that focused on sharp lines, full tones, and an overall acuity in the subject being photographed.
Paul Strand (1890-1976)
Nationality: American
Known for: Co-founder of the Photo League
Strand focused his efforts on ways to use his photography as a means for raising social consciousness. Much of his subject matter involved farmers and villagers.
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Dorothea Lange (1895-1965)
Nationality: American
Known for: Portrait of Depression-era people, including Migrant Mother
Lange documented Japanese Americans being forced into internment camps during WW II. She was also the first woman to receive the Geggenheim fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards in the industry, for her photography.
Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995)
Nationality: German
Known for: Photos depicting Victory Over Japan Day
One of the highlights of Eisenstaedt’s career is photographing a meeting between Mussolini and Hitler in 1933. Other photographic credits include Goebbels at the League of Nations, portraits of Sophia Loren and V-J Day in Times Square.
Berenice Abbott (1898-1991)
Nationality: American
Known for: Black-and-white photos of New York city buildings during the 1930s
Abbott had subjects that included James Joyce, Jean Cocteau, and other people from the artistic world in France. She visited New York City in 1929 and was hired a few years later by the Federal Art Project for the “Changing New York” project. She also began the “House of Photography” and produced photos for textbooks.
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Ansel Adams (1902-1984)
Nationality: American
Known for: Black-and-white photos of landscapes
Adams begin working in the photography industry in the 1920s. During his 60-year career, he promoted his ideas of conserving the wilderness by showcasing the American Southwest, including Yosemite National Park, in his black and white photographs.
Cecil Beaton (1904-1980)
Nationality: English
Known for: Took extensive photographs of WWII in Britain, especially damages from Germany’s blitz
Beaton worked for British Vogue and Vanity Fair during the 1930s. He was known for the photographs he took of societal life and fashion. He also photographed the Royal Family for publishing in official printed works.
Margaret Bourke-White
Nationality: American
Known for: First female correspondent to be allowed in war zones
Bourke-White obtained national recognition for her photography skills by taking some of the best photos of the still factories of her time. She also spent several years working as a photojournalist for Fortune magazine and later for Life magazine. Her photo was the on the inaugural edition of the publication in 1936.
Henri Cartier Bresson Yousuf-Karsh Robert CAPA in a Paris caf? 1952. Photo Courtesy @ Ruth ORKIN.
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004)
Nationality: French
Known for: Father of modern photojournalism
Cartier-Benson has covered some of the major world events of the 20th century, including the Spanish Civil War, Ghandi’s funeral, the 1968 student rebellion in France and much more. He is also credited with being one of the pioneers of “the decisive moment” in photographed situations.
Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002)
Nationality: Armenian-Canadian
Known for: Photographed major figures and published 15 books about those sessions
Karsh is one of the most renowned photographers to come out of Canada. He has composed portraits of major figures in world history and pop culture, including Winston Churchill, Humphrey Bogart, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy and Carl Jung, just to name a few. His works are showcased in places like New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Canada.
Robert Capa (1913-1954)
Nationality: Hungarian
Known for: Wartime photojournalism
Capa has captured photos of some historic events, including the D-Day invasion of WWII, wartime pictures during the Spanish Civil War, and much more. He also co-founded Magnum Photos with David Seymour and others as a community for freelance photographers to join.

Photographers of the Mid-1900s

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Allan Arbus (1918-2013)
Nationality: American
Known for: Photographer for the US Army
Before becoming a cast member on MASH, Arbus worked for the US Army as a photographer while he was in the service. When he left the army, he began a photography business and had his work published in magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Vogue, among others.
Helmut Newton (1920-2004)
Nationality: German-Australian
Known for: Erotic black-and-white photos for Vogue
As a well-known fashion photographer, Newton’s style included scenes with undertones of sado-masochism and fetishes. He also did pictorials of famous women for Playboy during the 1970s.
Diane Arbus (1923-1971)
Nationality: American
Known for: Photos of New Yorkers in the 1950s and 1960s
With photos appearing in Vogue and other popular magazines, Arbus was a renowned fashion photographer. She enjoyed taking black-and-white pictures of deviants in New York City, including nudists and circus performers, among others.
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Richard Avedon (1923-2004)
Nationality: American
Known for: Photographed world events like Vietnam War protesters and the Berlin Wall
Renowned for his photographs of famous events and people, Avedon has worked for publications like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. He has worked with celebrity figures including Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Malcolm X and Marilyn Monroe.
Eddie Adams (1933-2004)
Nationality: American
Known for: Photo of execution during Vietnam War
Adams was a combat photographer for the Korean War and he also covered the Vietnam War for the AP. He captured a photo of a police chief executing a prisoner in the open streets. Adams won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for Spot News Photography. He also won a World Press Photo award for the same picture.
David Bailey (1938- )
Nationality: British
Known for: Helped capture the “Swinging London” culture of the 1960s
Beginning in 1960, Bailey began working for British Vogue as a fashion photographer on staff. By capturing the culture of the 1960s in London, he and two other photographers became the first celebrity photographers. His pictures of celebrities include the Beatles, Andy Warhol, and Mick Jagger.

Photographers of the Late 1900s

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Patrick Demarchelier (1943- )
Nationality: French
Known for: Campaigns include 1978’s Farrah Fawcett shampoo and 1982’s Brooke Shields doll
During his career, Demarchelier has photographed dozens of covers for major fashion magazines, including Vogue, Elle, Mademoiselle and others. He has other done cover shots for Rolling Stone, Newsweek, and Life.
Nick Ut (1951- )
Nationality: Vietnamese
Known for: Photo of Vietnamese citizens fleeing a napalm attack
Ut won a Pulitzer Prize for his photo of children fleeing a napalm attack during the Vietnam War. He has also photographed celebrities, including Paris Hilton while she was crying in a police car. He has worked for the Associated Press as a photojournalist for many years.
Martin Parr (1952- )
Nationality: British
Known for: Beach photography
Parr has published several photobooks and had his photography displayed at the Barbican Arts Center in London and other places. He has received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Manchester Metropolitan University for his work in photography.
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Mario Testino (1954- )
Nationality: Peruvian
Known for: Vanity Fair cover featuring Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997
Employed by the royal family since 1997, Testino is a fashion photographer who has worked with some recognizable names. Some of them include Kim Basinger, Gisele Bundchen, Kate Moss, Britney Spears and several others. Testino also had the second most successful exhibit in the history of London’s National Portrait Gallery.
Ellen von Unwerth (1954- )
Nationality: German
Known for: Photos specializing in erotic femininity
Von Unwerth has had her work published in a variety of popular magazines, including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Interview and several others. She has also done photography work for names like Claudia Schiffer, Duran Duran, and Bananarama.
Andreas Gursky (1955- )
Nationality: German
Known for: His photograph, entitled Rhein II, sold for a record $4.3 million in 2011
Gursky has collections in various museums throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pomidou in Paris, and several others. His photographs are typically from a high vantage point to give the viewer a full perspective of the subject.

Photographers of Today

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Anne Geddes (1956- )
Nationality: Australian
Known for: Photographing babies in various costumes and situations
Her photographs of babies are designed to raise awareness concerning child abuse. Geddes has won several awards for her photography, including a lifetime membership to the Professional Photographers of America. She has also sold millions of products which contain her photographs.
Scott Kelby (1960- )
Nationality: American
Known for: Publishing materials about using Photoshop
Kelby has published dozens of books related to the field of digital imaging and photography. He is also a photograher who co-hosts a weekly talk show related to the field of photography. The Grid, as it is called, has hosts taking live questions from the audience as one of the segments.
David LaChapelle (1963- )
Nationality: American
Known for: Celebrity fashion photographer with photos in Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Interview and other major publications
LaChapelle attended the School of Visual arts in NYC and the North Carolina School of the Arts. He worked for Andy Warhol at Interview magazine and was recently ranked as one of the 10 most important people in the world of photography according to the World by American Photo magazine.
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Terry Richardson (1965- )
Nationality: American
Known for: Magazine shoots include Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, GQ and Vogue
Richardson has been a fashion photographer since 1993. His style is described as punk or amateur aesthetic, and he primarily works with 35mm film. He has worked for major names like Marc Jacobs, Yves Saint Laurent, and Rolling Stone, just to name a few.
Nigel Barker (1972- )
Nationality: Sri Lankan-English
Known for: Haiti Exhibit
Winning a Do Something with Style Award from VH1, Barker has helped bring awareness to the plight of Haiti. He is also a TV personality whose credits include America’s Next Top Model and several international TV programs. He worked as a photographer on a season of Canada’s Next Top Model.