12 Influential Photographers of the past

Update: This post was originally posted on 2nd December 2019 but after changing my website this post had to be re-published due to technical issues.

I have previously written about the inventors who influenced modern day photography. But this time I thought I would write about photographers of the past who have been influential.

1. Imogen Cunningham

Imogen Cunningham was an American photographer who lived between 12 April 1883 – 23 June 1976. She was known for botanical, nudes and industrial landscape photography as well as being part of the San Fransico Bay Area Group f/64.

Early in her career her photography consisted pf softly focused and blurred images, however, later she experimented with sharper images and created a style that became known as sharp focus photography.

2. Man Ray

Man Ray was born Emmanuel Radnitzky and lived from 27 August 1890 – 18 November 1976, although he was born in America he spent most of his career in France.

He is best known for his fashion photography as well as being a contributor to the Dada and surrealist movements.

3. Paul Strand

Another American photographer Paul Strand lived from 16 October 1890 – 31 March 1976. He photographed many genres throughout the Americas, Europe and Africa, including street photography.

4. Dorothy Lange

An American photographer, Dorothy Lange lived from 26 May 1895 – 11 October 1965 and was best known as a documentary photographer and photojournalist.

She is particularly well known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration in which she humanized the consequences of the Great Depression. Although her early work involved photographing the social elite in a studio.

5. Arthur Fellig

Arthur Fellig was better known as Weegee and lived between 12 June 1899 – 26 December 1968. He was a Hungarian photographer and photojournalist who was known for his black and white street photography.

During the 1930’s and 1940’s he worked in Manhattan as a press photographer and followed the city’s emergency services. Doing so he documented their work and the unflinchingly realistic scenes of urban life, crime and death.

6. Brassaȉ

Brassaȉ was a Hungarian/French photographer who was born Gyula Halasz and lived from 9 September 1899 – 8 July 1984.

He flourished in Paris in Paris between world war one and world war two, with his black and white street photography were both descriptive and humours.

7. Eliot Porter

Eliot Porter was an American who lived from 6 December 1901 – 2 November 1990 and was best known for his colour photographs of nature.

He started photographing birds and landscapes as a child with a Kodak box camera. However, by 1930 he had upgraded to a Leica and in 1933 was encouraged to work with a large format camera by Ansel Adams.

8. Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams was an American photographer and environmentalist who lived from 20 February 1902 – 22 April 1984.

He is best known for his black and white images of the American West espically Yosemite National Park. He predominantly used large format cameras and was a founding member of Group f/64.

9. Robert Doisneau

Robert Doisneau was a French photographer who lived from 14 April 1912 – 1 April 1994. He photographed the streets of Paris in the 1930’s and mastered humanist photography.

He was one of the pioneers of photojournalism, and was known for his moset, playful and iconic images.

10. Robert Capa

Robert Capa was born Endre Friedmann and was a Hungarian war photographer and photojournalist who lived from 22 October 1913 – 25 May 1954. Capa was a nickname given to him due to his up-close and personal style as it means shark in Hungarian.

His most notable work was during the Spanish civil war and he was also present with the first wave of soldiers during the D-Day landings. Unfortunately, only a few of his D-Day landing photographs survive.

11. Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon was an American photographer who lived from 15 May 1923 – 1 October 2004. He was known for fashion and portrait photography and through this he helped America define its image of style, beauty and culture for half a century.

He started shooting for Harper’s Bazzar and this enabled him to get his own studio in 1946, from which he produced images for Vogue and Life magazines.

12. Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe was an American photographer who lived from 4 November 1946 – 9 March 1989.

His photographers were black and white images of male and female nudes, self-portraiture and still life of flowers. He was also not afraid to shy away from controversial subjects, such as in the 1970’s when he documented New York’s S&M scene.

I hope you like this short list of notable photographers of the past, are there any that you think should be on here that I’ve missed? Please so tell me about them.

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