Famous Photographers – Part 2

Taking a good photograph can be just pure luck, but more often than not it is skill and technique that produce the desired results. Looking at the work of famous photographers is one way you, too, can improve, analyze the way they use light and compose their subject. In this blog we look at the most famous photographers of all time, how they achieved their fame and what drove them to their success.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson had a style that was bound to make him into one of the top photographers in the world. What was particularly unique was that he normally shot in monochrome and was famed for his candid photographs. One of the pioneers of using 35mm film and street photography he admitted that photographers deal in things that are transitory, and once the moment has gone it is gone forever. He also stated, the photograph itself does not interest me. I only want to capture a minute part of reality.

Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange will be most remembered for capturing images of the Great Depression in America. Her work was very much in a documentary style and she produced images of how people struggled during this period. The photographs were of displaced farmers, unemployed men in food queues. Quite often these desperate people would be holding captions, written by the subjects themselves.

Another part of her career that was of high importance was during WWII, when she visited Japanese internment camps in America. She was actually commissioned to take photographs of Japanese Americans by the Office of War Information. But her photographs just highlighted a very sad moment in American history, as often they depicted distraught people who, through no fault of their own. were under lock and key.

Jerry Uelsmann

Uelsmann was a very technical photographer, most of his hard work took place in the dark room where he would make composite images. This is why he never used a digital camera as his own creative process was in the cutting room.

His technique has been called photo manipulation, and Uelsmann was a master of his art.  His photographs are in permanent collection of many world museums including, Chicago Art Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Victoria and Albert Museum London, National Gallery Australia, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the Museum of Photography in Seoul.

Annie Leibovitz

Rolling Stone magazine and Vanity Fair both relied heavily on the skill of Annie Leibovitz to produce great portraits of featured people. Perhaps she is most famous for photographing John Lennon the day he was shot.

She was the first woman to be named chief photographer at Rolling Stone, her ability to have empathy with her subjects and shooting with natural light are two prominent features of her work. Leibovitz was also adept at bringing her images to life in the dark room.

These photographers are so different in how they went about taking their images, it proves the point that photography is really an art form. They had one thing in common, they were all prepared to work hard to get the results they sought. We continue our look at the world’s greatest photographers in part three of this blog.