Famous photographers is a topic that a lot of us agree on, but ask a group of photographers what makes a photo great, and you’ll get plenty of variety in their answers.
Some will offer answers that have to do with the technical nature of the photograph – it’s sharpness, the use of light, and so forth.
Others will comment about the artistry of the image – the framing or composition.
Still others will note the meaning and emotion of the photo.
Yet, ask who the best photographers of all time are, and you’re likely to get a much more streamlined set of answers.
Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Robert Capa, and, of course, many others, are the ones that consistently appear on the “best of” lists.
It makes sense that this is the case.
After all, photography is both a technical and an artistic venture, so it stands to reason that different aspects of a photo draw the eye of different photographers, which results in such wide variability in answers to the question, “What makes this photo good?”
But the question of “Who are the best photographers?” generates a slimmer list of answers because of the impact these people have had on photography.
We often see their pictures, read their books, read articles about them, and study their work.
Their photos serve as examples of what’s good but also act like baseball cards for baseball fans. By that, I mean that just like there are tons of great baseball players, there are tons of great photographers. But only a select few ever have their cards and photos on the “best of” lists or their names associated with being a hero.
Having a photography hero is imperative because it gives you a benchmark to work towards, a standard of work to achieve.
This “best of” list offers up best photographers of all time in no particular order. It’s by no means a complete list, but it’s a great starting point for you to find your photography hero to inspire your work.
Famous Photographers: Ansel Adams Biography
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By photo by J. Malcolm Greany [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Born: February 20, 1902
Died: April 22, 1984
Awards: Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada (1946), Sierra Club John Muir Award (1963), Presidential Medal of Freedom (1981), Hasselblad Award (1981)
Perhaps the most well-known photographer of all time, Ansel Adams’ work likely adorns the walls of households and businesses more than any other photographer.
A master of black and white landscapes, Adams spent much of his time documenting the wilds of the American West, perhaps most famously Yosemite National Park in California and the Tetons and Snake River in Wyoming.
His photos helped lead the charge to protect nature and wildlife, a pursuit Adams was as passionate about as photography.
Ansel Adams Photography
<img class="i-amphtml-blurry-placeholder" src="data:;base64,Ansel Adams [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
You can view and purchase replicas of Adams’ work via the Ansel Adams Gallery, an organization run by his family.
The photographs he took on behalf of the National Park Service are available to view from the National Archives.
Ansel Adams in the National Parks offers a nice retrospective of his work in the American West.
Ansel Adams Quotes
“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”
“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”
Read more Ansel Adams quotes and quotes from other photographers.
Famous Photographers: Joseph Nicéphore Niépce Biography
Unknown [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
Born: March 7, 1765
Died: July 5, 1833
You might not recognize any of the photos that Niépce took, but you will probably recognize his name associated with the world’s first photograph. He developed heliography, in which a print was created from an engraved printing plate. That was way back in 1825.
Just a couple of years later, he used a camera obscura to create the oldest surviving photograph, an image he titled View From the Window at Le Gras seen above.
It’s not the best photo – I’ll be the first to admit that – but the fact that Niépce is considered one of the fathers of photography, he gets a spot on the list.
Joseph Nicéphore Niépce Photography
By Joseph Nicéphore Niépce [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Photography School Spéos is an good resource for learning more about Niépce’s work and his role in the invention of photography.
Learn more about Niépce on his Wiki.
Famous Photographers: Louis Daguerre Biography
George Eastman Museum [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
Born: November 18, 1787
Died: July 10, 1851
For all you photography history buffs, Louis Daguerre created the process of the Daguerreotype, which was the first photography process used for commercial purposes.
That doesn’t mean the Daguerreotype was a simple process, though.
Creating a photo involved exposing a silver-plated copper sheet to iodine crystals, which in turn created a layer of silver iodide on the plate that was sensitive to light. Exposing the plate to light in a camera produced an image, but only after an impossibly long exposure.
However, Daguerre soon discovered that the “negative” created by the image – which was obtained much faster than the typical exposure – could be developed into a photo. That makes him one of the fathers of photography alongside Niépce.
Above are the list containing the famous photographers in history and the amazing photographs they took.
By: Amebonized Sammy