It’s nearly impossible to narrow down all the amazing photographers from around the world to a list of ten, but for this article, I’ve done my best. Compiled below is a comprehensive index of the best shutterbugs, past and present.
Photographers view things differently than the rest of us — they see not only how the world looks, but how it could look. They strive to bring out visceral qualities in their subjects, regardless of whether they’re shooting portraits, landscapes, or simple objects and still-lifes. This unwavering dedication to creating stunningly memorable photographs results in photos everyone can admire.
But some photographers have produced particularly admirable work, so I’ve decided to play favorites and rank them. Take a look at this list of revolutionaries, and get inspired to leave your own legacy.
Counting Down the List
10. Robert Capa was an epic photojournalist and wartime photographer who covered five wars and multiple other major conflicts before ultimately losing his life while photographing the First Indochina War. He was also a co-founder of Magnum Photos, the world’s first collective for freelance photographers.
9. Stuart Franklin is a photojournalist who also specializes in documenting conflicts from around the world. His work has been featured in both TIME magazine and National Geographic.
8. Brian Duffy was a well-known portrait and fashion photographer in the 1960s and 1970s. His work was published in Harper’s Bazaar and British Vogue, and he’s probably best known for his collaborations with David Bowie, including the iconic cover art for his album, “Aladdin Sane.”
7. George Rodger was a noted photojournalist whose photos documenting the atrocities at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the end of WWII are among some of the most recognizable in the world today. Along with Capa, he was also a founding member of Magnum Photos.
6. Steve McCurry is a well-known photographer specializing in capturing images of armed conflicts. He is best known for his photograph titled the “Afghan Girl,” one of National Geographic’s most famous covers.
5. Dorothea Lange’s work revolutionized the field of photojournalism. Her shots of depression-era America commissioned by the Farm Security Administration exposed the Great Depression as it was truly experienced by the American people. You’re probably very familiar with Migrant Mother, her stunning 1936 portrait of struggling mother Florence Owens Thompson.
4. Annie Leibovitz is an American photographer best known for her striking portraits created through the use of daring poses and colors. Her photographs of celebrities and dignitaries are among some of the most famous in the contemporary American memory. Leibovitz’s unique work helped define the photographic style for Rolling Stone magazine during her tenure as chief photographer.
3. David LaChapelle’s photos are colorful, hyperrealistic, and at times, subversive. Starting his career as a fine art photographer, he was given his shot at commercial photography with Interview magazine by none other than Andy Warhol.
2. Diane Arbus chose subjects on the outskirts of society, including cross-dressers, dwarfs, and nudists. She sought to capture these marginalized people as they truly were, not the freaks people thought them to be. In turn, her work helped her subjects become more visible to mainstream society.
1. Ansel Adams is perhaps the most recognizable name on this list — and for good reason. His long-standing career as a photographer gave the world some of the most breathtaking landscape photos ever taken. His work has been widely reproduced for calendars, postcards, and books, and he is especially well-known for his shots of the American West.
Take it from Them
Though these artists vary in their place in time, space, and preferred subject matter, they have one thing in common: they were all once fledgling shutterbugs struggling to define themselves.
If you’re a budding photographer like I am, always keep this in mind. Continue to shoot and experiment, and you too could take a photo that defines a generation.
Of course, you can’t produce influential work without professional printing. AdoramaPix’s convenient online system and beautiful, printed products will take your photos to the next level.
There’s simply no other printer that can be trusted with professional-level work, as AdoramaPix offers White Glove quality checks performed by people, not machines, before sending you the finished product.
That means there’s no excuse not to get out there and start snapping today!