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famous photographers and their work

Famous Photographers and Their Work, with Pictures
Explaining the World in Photos

These famous photographers were not born artists. They studied their craft throughout life, practicing how to tell a story through a lens. They sought out landscapes, street action, sports and portrait subjects. While they worked behind the camera, they learned technique and composition. Through their photos they tell us about the world and about ourselves.
  1. Famous Photographer Alfred Stieglitz
  2. Famous Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson
  3. Famous Photographer Ansel Adams
  4. Famous Photographer Diane Arbus
  5. Famous Photographer Margaret Bourke-White
  6. Famous Photographer Dorothea Lange
  7. Famous Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron

famous photographers and their workFamous Photographer Alfred Steiglitz

Georgia O'Keeffe
by Alfred Stieglitz
Alfred Stieglitz, 1864 –1946, spent his fifty-year career promoting photography as art form, comparable to painting and sculpture. With financial support from his family, he was able to dedicate his working life entirely to photography. The defining moment of his life was his marriage to the painter Georgia O’Keefe. He made over 300 images of his wife, which are often cited as his greatest work. Pictured is Georgia O'Keeffe.

Alfred Stieglitz saw photography as a distinctive medium of individual expression. Many of his photographs are composed as if they were painting or sculpture. He founded two nonprofit New York City galleries, which led to his lifelong friendship with one of his exhibitors, American photographer Ansel Adams. In 1902 he organized a private group, named the Photo-Secession, which encouraged the art world to recognize the artistic value of photography. In addition to his body of work, his enduring legacy was his effort to have photography accepted as a true art form.

famous photographers and their workFamous Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson

famous photographers and their work
Jean-Paul Sartre
by Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1908 – 2004, born in France, was both an artist and a journalist. He abandoned his studies of literature and painting after he saw the early sports photographs in illustrated magazines. When he began his career in photography, the bulky press photographer’s camera that used large, single sheets of film, one sheet per image, was being replaced by the new lightweight 35 mm Leica camera. Later he spent three years in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II.

Cartier-Bresson is the father of modern photojournalism. He was influenced by French surrealism, an art movement that found significance in the meanings that lie beneath the surface of everyday life. The context of a gesture, a meeting or a setting in a photograph could convey great beauty or emotion. From this he developed the style of candid “street photography,” which is still in use. Cartier-Bresson met and photographed the world's leading artists, writers, and politicians. Many familiar faces appear among his works: the movie director John Huston, the writer Truman Capote, novelist William Faulkner, fashion designer Coco Chanel, sculptor Alexander Calder, and writer Carson McCullers. Pictured is philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, left, with architect Jean Pouillon on the Pont des Arts in 1946.

He is most famous for his concept of the decisive moment. “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment," he said. “Photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms that give that event its proper expression. In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little human detail can become a leitmotif.”

famous photographers and their workFamous Photographer Ansel Adams

famous photographers and their work
El Capitan, Sunrise
by Ansel Adams
The great 20th century nature photographer Ansel Easton Adams, 1902 — 1984, started out to become a concert pianist, and was torn between the piano and the camera. Now he is famous as a photographer, known especially for his black and white photographs of California's Yosemite Valley. Adams's technical mastery was legendary. More than any creative photographer, before or since, he reveled in the theory and practice of the medium. He created a movement based on loyalty to "straight photography", or unaltered prints, in reaction against pictorialism, the trend to alter photos in the darkroom. Pictured is El Capitan, Sunrise.

For Adams, who was active in the Sierra Club, the environmental issues of particular importance were Yosemite National Park, the national park system, and above all, the preservation of wilderness, along with a wide range of other issues. His enduring advice is, “You don't take a photograph, you make it.”

famous photographers and their workFamous Photographer Diane Arbus

famous photographers and their work
Child with Toy Grenade
by Diane Arbus
Diane Arbus (1923 – 1971) was a famous American photographer, noted for her portraits of people on the fringes of society, outsiders such as tranvestites, dwarves, giants, prostitutes and mental patients, in poses and settings that convey a disturbing humanity. After her separation from her photographer husband at the age of 36, she developed the unique, haunting style which made her famous. By the time of her death by suicide in New York City, she was at the height of her career.

Diane Arbus took a personal, intuitive approach to documentary photography. She was one of the first great photographers to follow her subconscious instinct and intuition. Her work about the differences between people and the paradox of individuality is still influential today. By choosing her subjects, she may have been exploring her own identity or vulnerability. Her unsettling photograph of a child with toy grenade in Central Park sold at auction for $408,000 in 2005.

famous photographers and their workFamous Photographer Margaret Bourke-White

famous photographers and their work
Mahatma Gandhi
by Margaret Bourke-White
Margaret Bourke-White, 1904 – 1971, was a famous American photographer, a photojournalist, and the first female war correspondent. Her exploits are numerous and lengendary. She photographed the drought victims of the Dust Bowl. She collaborated with novelist Erskine Caldwell, her husband for three years, on a book about conditions in the South during the Great Depression.

She worked for Fortune and Life magazines and served in the combat zones of Germany, Africa and Italy, during World War II. She was the only American photographer in Russia during the battle of Moscow. She photographed the survivers at Buchenwald concentration camp. She photographed Gandhi a few hours before his assassination. She was torpedoed in the Mediterranean, strafed by the Luftwaffe, stranded on an Arctic island, bombarded in Moscow, and pulled out of the Chesapeake River when her chopper crashed. After all her adventures, Margaret Bourke-White was known to the staff at Life magazine as 'Maggie the Indestructible.’ Gandhi with his spinning wheel is pictured above.

The photographer Eisenstaedt, her friend and colleague, said one of her strengths was that there was no assignment and no picture that was unimportant to her. Her personal advice was, “Saturate yourself with your subject and the camera will all but take you by the hand.”

famous photographers and their workFamous Photographer Dorothea Lange

famous photographers and their work
Migrant Mother
by Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange, 1885-1965, recovered from a bout of childhood polio but was left with a weak leg and a limp. After studying photography, she moved to San Francisco and began as a commercial portrait photographer there. Her early work included images of Native Americans made during her travels to the Southwest. When studio work seemed limiting and static, she took her camera to the streets, to the breadlines, to the waterfront strikes, and to desperate people. She is best known for her work during the Great Depression, when she photographed the tragic suffering across the country for the Farm Security Administration, including the impoverished migrant farm families looking for work.

During World War II, she documented the effects of the war on the factory workers, ethnic people and the Japanese-Americans in relocation camps. Her images were so critical of the Japanese-American policies that the Army impounded them during the war. She also cofounded the photographic magazine Aperture. Dorothea Lange's photographs humanized the tragic consequences of the Great Depression and were influential in the development of modern documentary photography. She is especially remembered for the photograph shown here, Migrant Mother, which became the symbol of the migrant experience.

famous photographers and their workFamous Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron

famous photographers and their work
Famous photograph
by Julia Margaret Cameron
Julia Margaret Cameron, 1815 –1879, was a famous British photographer. When she was 48 years old, Cameron received her first camera as a present from her daughter, and started her career as a photographer at a time when photography was new and challenging. The bulk of Cameron's photographs fit into two categories, closely framed portraits or else illustrative allegories based on religious and literary works. In the allegorical works, she posed her subjects in period costumes with fantasy props. The lighting is soft and feathery, with subjects portraying characters like angels and poets.

Her neighbor Alfred Lord Tennyson often brought friends to see the photographer. Some of her famous subjects include: Charles Darwin, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, John Everett Millais, William Michael Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, Ellen Terry and George Frederic Watts. Her unconventional portrait style, which included close cropping, soft focus and emphasis on capturing the personality, is still imitated today. Many of Cameron's portraits are significant because they are often the only existing photographs of historical figures.

Shrewdly, Julia Cameron copyrighted each of her photographs, so that much of her work survives today. She wrote, "I longed to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at length the longing has been satisfied."

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