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Greatest photographers all time

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With numerous genres of photography being introduced, the world seems to experience a wave of excellent photography. Thanks to experts in each niche, the field of photography has spread its wings far and wide.

It is gaining popularity in numerous aspects of life. Be it wildlife, wedding, landscape, sports, portrait, documentary, war, street, or fashion. Photography has taken over many industries, and many influencers have made their mark.

Like in all fields, photographers have chosen a niche and then excelled in it. That is why no one photographer is best in all genres. You will hear different names in different fields, as many photographers maestros their magic in many areas.

In this blog, we will discuss some of the most renowned names in different genres of photography.

Photographers who have influenced the industries:

  • Ansel Adams – the father of landscape photography
  • Dorothea Lange – guru of documentary photography
  • Steve Bloom – the wildlife expert
  • Christian Aslund – the transformer of street photography
  • Annie Leibovitz – the magician of portraits
  • Robert Capa – the war capturer
  • Timothy Hogan – the still life and fashion specialist
  • David LaChapelle – wonder of fine art photographer

Greatest photographers all time:

Each one of them has greatly contributed to their niche. Their works have made a major difference and have influenced many others as well. So let us pay an ode to them:

Ansel Adams

The father of landscape photography needs no introduction. His photographs say it all. The awe-inspiring works such as those of the Yosemite National Park are masterpieces that the world shall always remember. His images are iconic in their melancholy and are executed with perfection and uniqueness.

He is the one that and signaled transformation in nature and wildlife photography. The work of this renowned American nature photographer started in the first half of the 20th century. Ansel Adams was born in San Francisco on 20 February 1902. He was an only child who was compelled by boundless energy.

So normal schooling was inadequate to contain his creativity. This is why his father, Charles, decided to cater to his education himself. This gave Ansel a chance to roam around the heights facing San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and encouraged him to explore his uniqueness. So when in 1916, on their family trip to the Yosemite Valley, Ansel, who was only 14, was captivated by the Yosemite Park’s beauty.

It was a ground-breaking discovery for him as the jaw-dropping majesty of that natural landscape left lasting impressions on him. In his later life, Adams recalled this moment as the day when his life got colored and modulated, and a new era began for him. He also got his first camera, a Kodak Brownie box camera, from his father as a gift. Thus, from then onward, he devoted his time to photography.


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For years, Adams tried to convey his feelings by exploring the wilderness of Yosemite Park. His photography didn’t revolve around geography or geology; rather, he used it to express the marvel and ecstasy he experienced.

He immersed himself in the pure beauty of the Sierra Nevada, and you can feel the sense of spiritual communion in his photos. Be it the depicted mountains or something as small as a leaf, and you are reminded that humanity is not the whole world when viewing Ansel’s images.

From the 1940s, his work shifted to larger-scale panoramas. He started adding portions of the sky in his images to emphasize the dramatic splendor. He ensured that the landscape got bigger so that humanity seemed smaller in its presence.

His images covered gargantuan landscapes that held overwhelming beauty. Apart from nature photography, Ansel Adams is also known as the greatest photographer of all times due to his exceptional knowledge of analog photography and darkroom techniques. He knows how to perfectly render light and shadows even in black and white prints. With his years of practice, he can capture detail-rich photographs in all sorts of weather conditions.

You can experience the beautiful interplay of light and shadows in all his results. To pay tribute to him, there vast tract of wildland in the Sierra Nevada, south-east of the Yosemite National Park, has been named the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

Landscape with tree in sunlight

Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange requires no introduction as she is one of the pioneers of documentary photography. Her portraits of displaced farmers during the Great Depression are of the most influential images. Her photographs captured such emotions and ideas that they influenced viewers worldwide.

She was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, on May 26, 1895. At the age of 7, which weakened one of her legs. Later in life, she appreciated the effects of the illness as it guided her towards photography. Art and literature played a vital role in her upbringing as her parents were strong advocates for education and creativity from an early age.

In 1913 after completing her academics, she decided to pursue photography. After a stint working in an NYC photo studio, she enrolled at Columbia University and worked for several different photographers, such as Arnold Genthe, to gain experience. By 1918, she has founded a successful portrait studio with her husband, muralist Maynard Dixon.

But in the 1920s, her focus changed as she got the first taste of documentary photography as she traveled around the Southwest with her husband. The real transformation occurred with the onset of the Great Depression in the 1930s. She began her documentary work with labor strikes and breadlines in her area.

In1935, she left her spouses to be with Paul Taylor, a university professor and labor economist. Over the next five years, she traveled extensively with him to document the rural hardship. This was when she captured her most well-known portrait, “Migrant Mother.”

It is an iconic image that beautifully captures the hardship that many Americans were experiencing. This masterpiece of hers now hangs in the Library of Congress. She gently kept documenting the unemployed men who wandered the streets with her camera and captioned them, using the workers themselves’ words.

Her first exhibition in 1934 presented these and established her reputation as a skilled photographer. Later, In 1940, she was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship and was the first woman to receive it.

In World War II., she was hired by the Office of War Information to photograph the captivity of Japanese Americans, and in 1945 she was asked to document the San Francisco conference. She also co-founded Aperture, a small publishing house for the production of periodical and high-end photography books.

But she continually suffered from increasing health problems and passed away from esophageal cancer in October 1965. But her photography continue to influence future generations greatly.

Documentary showing marketers

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom is a prominent name when it comes to wildlife photography. His pictures bring people close to wildlife and habitat. But Bloom’s interest in photography was not started by the wild. Rather, it was due to the images in Life magazine.

He first trained himself as a gravure printer in 1972. He captured took portraits of people under the Apartheid system. He explored England, where his pictures were exhibited internationally under The International Defense and Aid Fund. Then he joined the world of graphic arts, and in 1999 implemented the Addison designs for the summer Olympic Games in Barcelona.

It wasn’t until 1993 that Bloom began photographing wildlife. It all began when he was on vacation in South Africa. From then onward, he devoted all his time to wildlife photography. After 1996 he spent two years working on his first book, In Praise of Primates.

In 2004 his book named Untamed, which features animals from all continents, was published, then in 2006, his two monographs: Elephant and Spirit of the Wild were published. After this, he returned to capturing people. This led to publishing his book Living Africa in 2008, which covers several African countries and mixes wildlife with tribal groups and city life.

Then his second book, Trading Places – The Merchants of Nairobi, captures subsistence shopkeepers’ essence in the suburbs of Nairobi. He is also famous for publishing several children’s books such as My Big Cats Journal, My Favorite Animal Families, etc.

By 2010, he has eleven city center outdoor exhibitions called Spirit of the Wild, containing 100 large format weather-sealed prints. His exhibition is free and open to the public, and its purpose is to engender awareness of habitat encroachment.

His inaugural exhibition held in England ran for eleven months in Centenary Square. The Copenhagen exhibition which was held in 2006 and was visited by more than 1,019,028 people. In 2012 the London Festival of Photography also featured his exhibition.

Over the years, Steve Bloom has become one of the most highly regarded wildlife photographers and has also spread his wings beautifully to capture people.

Wildlife tiger close up

Christian Aslund

Christian Aslund is a Swedish photographer who begins by transforming ordinary streets into immersive 2D game screens. He was born in 1974 and is based in Stockholm, and has a solid background as a photojournalist.

He has worked for numerous newspapers, NGO’s, and magazines. But his greatness lies in documenting various armed conflicts, social issues and capturing environmental problems.

He has won many awards for documenting environmental topics and covering social conflicts. He is also famous for shooting commercial and editorial assignments. His expertise lies in capturing life’s moments with a twist.

In 2013, he received first place in the Campaign category of the Sony World Photography Awards. He has been on a wide range of photographic assignments. He began his professional career in 1998, working as a newspaper staff, but since 2001 he has turned freelance.

Humorous undertones usually characterize his images to convey a feeling of hope when covering serious subjects.

He is committed to the environmental cause and has devoted his life to it. He has collaborated extensively with the Greenpeace organization. That is why in 2013, he went on a voyage to the North Pole and documented a manifestation to save the Arctic.

Through his photographs, he declared the High Arctic and the Arctic Ocean a global sanctuary. Christian Aslund highlighted that arctic is off-limits to the oil industry and is adversely affected by unsustainable, high-impact industrial fishing. His works have influenced many and created awareness throughout the globe.

2d image with landed plane

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz is remembered as one of America’s best portrait photographers. She had developed her trademark using bold colors and extraordinary poses when she worked at Rolling Stone. She joined Rolling Stone in 1970, and since then, she has created many distinctive looks for their publication as chief photographer.

She joined the entertainment magazine Vanity Fair in 1983 and continued to create provocative photos. She has also produced high-profile advertising campaigns. Her images are deemed as an icon and have been showcased in several exhibitions and books globally.

She was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, on October 2, 1949. She enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1967, where she developed her love for photography. She briefly lived on an Israeli kibbutz but returned to the United States and applied at the start-up rock music magazine Rolling Stone.

Within two years, she was promoted to chief photographer, and she remained in that position for a decade. She also accompanied the Rolling Stones band on an international tour in 1975. This was where she developed her trademark technique of using bold primary colors and poses that surprised everyone.

In 1983, she left Rolling Stone and joined Vanity Fair to work with various subjects. In the magazine, she captured presidents to literary icons, and even teen heartthrobs. Her shoots have over-the-top budgets, which resulted in major financial challenges. To date, many of her covers contain stunning portraits of celebrities.

Some were controversial, and Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Sylvester Stallone, and Caitlyn Jenner, but they stay the most remembered celebs to grace the cover.

In the 1980s, she also became part of high-profile advertising campaigns such as for American Express. This earned her a Clio Award in 1987. In 1991, more than 200 of Annie’s photographs were exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington.

In 1996, she was hired as the official photographer of the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. In 1999, she published the book Women who presented an array of females, such as those in the Supreme Court, to Vegas showgirls to farmers and miners.

Later, she published American Music in 2013 to emphasize the important musicians in the country, folk, hip-hop, and jazz. As busy as ever, she continues to be in demand, and her work continues to dazzle. From the 2014 Marks & Spencer campaign to the calendar in 2016 for the tire manufacturer Pirelli she influences wherever she goes.

Woman portrait

Robert Capa

Born as André Friedmann in 1913, Robert Capa is one of the greatest war photographers. He explored the complex relationship human have with war. He previewed the events happening worldwide and captured them with his lens to create a lasting impact.

An aura of greatness and sadness surrounded Robert Capa’s life. He hated war yet keenly captured it. War photography enabled him to influence the world and cut his life short, as he died due to a land mine in 1954. He revealed to the world the multifaceted experiences of five separate wars. His work is recognized as the most influential photographs of war ever captured.

He was born in Hungary to a Jewish family. In 1913, he left for Budapest to work as a darkroom assistant. After that, he went to Paris to further his profession as a journalist. This is where he met Gerda Taro and crafted the identity of Robert Capa.

He landed his first assignment in Denmark to photograph Leon Trotsky’s speech. But it was the Spanish Civil War shooting, which truly made him popular on the world’s eye. He took his most infamous photograph, Death of a Loyalist Soldier, in this conflict. He mastered the art of holding the viewer’s attention by capturing tragic moments.

Capa’s witnessed five separate wars, which include the Spanish Civil War, World War II, the Second Sino-Japanese War, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the First Indochina War. Robert Capa had captured a vast array of war moments such as the front line at the battle of Normandy, impacts of war on civilians, soldiers who die in the wake of destruction, and celebrations of the Liberation as well. The images that he showed have changed photojournalism forever.

It has brought to light the real destruction that war projects. The influence of Capa can never be denied. Each of his photos represent a metaphor and last in the viewer’s mind forever. His photography has produced timeless reverberations that can be felt to date and have made him ‘the greatest war photographer in the world.’

War scene

Timothy Hogan

Timothy Hogan is not only an award-winning photographer but is the master of still life photos. He is based in Los Angeles, California. He is renowned due to his lighting mastery. His still-life images are uniquely precise. He has done shoots for an array of brands internationally.

He has also worked for global advertising agencies, including those in the beverage, fragrance, technology, and design arenas. Due to his dramatic imagination and collaborative nature, he is sought by clients repeatedly. Especially when it comes to portraying things with shine, Timothy excels at it.

He has been imaginative from a young age and has become a maker, specifically in the world of photography. He has a history of taking things apart, which has given him a unique ability to capture sophisticated solutions even for complex product requests.

Not only that, but he also collaborates and fully supports producers and retouches in the studios to create the best results. This has crafted his name in the still-life industry and has forged long-lasting relationships. He can produce incredible results for every client, thanks to his skills and experience.

He has 12 years of practicing in New York City, and now he has relocated to Los Angeles. He is presently using his craft as a product designer, which compliments photography and develops a line of artwork. He has been selected as a Hasselblad Ambassador in the USA.

Still life watches

David LaChapelle

David LaChapelle is best known for his work in both the fine art and fashion industry. His images usually reference art history and also convey social messages. His skills have been famous because they are hyper-real and slyly subversive.

His photographs have been referred to as “kitsch pop surrealism.” He has worked for many international publications and has done exhibitions in commercial galleries globally.

He was born in Hartford, where he lived until the age of 9. It was from an early age that he developed a love for the arts. He ran away from home at 15 years old and became a busboy in New York. Later he returned to North Carolina and enrolled himself in the North Carolina School of Arts.

In the 1980s, he became affiliated with the 303 Gallery. When people from Interview magazine viewed his work there, they hired him. He was only 17 at that time after that LaChapelle‘s images began to appear on the pages of renowned magazines such as Details, The New York Times Magazine, The Face, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Rolling Stone, and many more.

His work reflects meticulously created images in high-gloss with hyper-realistic style. The colors in his images pop are full of juicy life. His images usually follow themes such as salvation, paradise, redemption, and consumerism.

David LaChapelle has moved photography into a new direction, showing his interest in contemporary practice and art history. His photographs are bizarre yet gorgeous, which have led to a style that is unique and unmistakable.

Fashion image woman

Final thoughts:

All of these photographers have influenced their respective industries. Their works are masterpieces in their realm. Each of them has brought us photographic treasures that are invaluable. Their contributions to the world of photography can never be forgotten.

We are truly thankful to them for widening our perspectives and bringing us beauty far beyond our imaginations through their lenses.

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