Top 12 Influential Photographers of Today

Update: This post was originally posted on 10th January 2020 but after changing my website this post had to be re-published due to technical issues.

I have previously written about the top influential photographers of the past. However, I though it only right to list the top 12 influential photographers of today.

1. Robert Frank

Robert Frank was born on 9 November 1924 and is a Swiss-American photographer who is most famous as a street photographer and photojournalist.

However, it was not until the 1950’s he turned his attention to this form of photography. Before this in 1941 worked as a commercial photographer in Zurich, Basel and Geneva. Then in 1947 he became a fashion photographer in the US.

2. Sir Donald McCullin

By TV Brasil - Conexão Roberto D'Avila - episódio "Don McCullin", CC BY 3.0 br

Sir Donald McCullin is a British photographer who was born on 9 October 1935 and is known for his war and urban photography.

His urban photography shows the unemployed, downtrodden and impoverished, where his war photography shows the horrors of war in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

3. David Bailey

By Ben Broomfield - Wikipedia:Contact us/Photo submission, CC BY-SA 3.0

David Royston Bailey is an English photographer who was born on 2 January 1938, he is known as a fashion and portrait photographer.

He was determined to become a photographer and bought his first camera in 1957. His poor school attendance meant he was unable to realise his dream of attending the London School of Fashion. However, he assisted David Ollins and then John French. With his photographs helped create the image of the ‘swinging sixties’ and its culture of fashion and celebrity chic.

4. Sebastiao Salgado

By Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil -, CC BY 3.0 br,

The Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Ribeiro Salgado Junior was born on 8 February 1944. He is a social documentary photographer and photojournalist who has travelled to over 120 countries on his photographic projects.

He is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and in 1992 he received Foreign Honorary Membership of the American Academy of Arts and Science and the Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship.

5. Annie Leibovitz

By Robert Scoble from Half Moon Bay, USA - Annie Leibovitz at her SF exhibition, CC BY 2.0,

Born Anna-Lou Leibovitz on 2 October 1949 in American is renown portrait photographer with her work having featured in many magazines and on my album covers.

She is also famous for being the first woman to hold an exhibition at Washington’s National Portrait Gallery in 1991.

6. Steve McCurry

By John Ramspott from Oxford, GA, USA - The legendary Steve McCurry, CC BY 2.0,

Steve McCurry is an American photography who was born 23 April 1950 he is a photojournalist and freelancer.

He is most famous for the photo of the ‘Afghan Girl’ with piercing green eyes. Aside from this he has completed many assignments for the National Geopgraphic and been the recipient for numerous awards including Magazine Photographer of the Year.

7. Frans Lanting

By Frans Lanting Studio - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Frans Lanting is a Dutch photographer who was born on 13 July 1951 and speazilises in wildlife photography, although he does have a studio, as well as his own gallery.

His work has taken him to many different parts of the world including the Amazon Basin, Africa and Antartica. His work often appears in the National Geographic where he served as a photographer-in-residence.

8. Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman is an American photographer who was born on 19 January 1954 and is a renown conceptual artist who is one of the most influential photographers of the modern age with two images on the list of the Top 10 most expensive photographs in the world.

Her work explores contemporary identity and the nature of representation.

9. Mario Testino

By Walterlan Papetti - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Mario Eduardo Testino Silva is a Peruvian photographer born on 30 October 1954 who is known for his fashion and portrait photography.

His photographs have been used by Vogue, Vanity Fair, V Magazine, GQ, Gucci, Channel and Estee Lauder.

10. Andreas Gursky

By Hpschaefer - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

German photographer and professor Andreas Gursky was born on 15 January 1955.

He is known for his large format photography of architecture and landscapes, which he often uses a high view point to capture.

11. Anne Geddes

The Australian photographer who was born on 13 September 1956 is a newborn photographer.

Her books have been published in 83 countries, translated in to 23 different languages and sold more than 18 million copies. In 1997 her photography was made into calanders and date books by Cedco Publishing and were sold more than 1.8 million times.

12. David LaChapelle

By Gampe - Own work, CC BY 3.0,

David LaChapelle is an American photographer who was born on 11 March 1963, he is known as a commercial and fine art photographer.

His work makes reference to art history, religious scenes and those that convey social images. With his style being colour popping almost surrealist in nature.

As with my post on historical influential photographers I hope you have found this post interesting. However, if you think there is someone who should be on this list that I have missed please so let me know.

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