Top 10 Famous Photographers You Should Know

Though there are an infinite amount of photographers around the world worth knowing, there are a handful of names that seem to come up again and again in conversations among photography enthusiasts.

Here are 10 famous photographers you should know.

1. Annie Leibovitz

When Rolling Stone launched, Annie Leibovitz approached the founding editor with her portfolio and received her first assignment — photograph John Lennon. Later on, she joined Vanity Fair and became known for her provocative portraits of celebrities.

2. Steve McCurry

McCurry is famous for his 1984 photograph “Afghan Girl” — a striking image of a young woman with piercing eyes which was originally published in National Geographic magazine. He focuses on conflicts, culture, traditions and what it means to be human. 

3. Henri Cartier-Bresson

Bresson was a French humanist photographer known to be the master of the candid shot — he was a pioneer of the street photography genre and was an early user of 35 mm film. He was also the co-creator of the photo agency Magnum

4. Ansel Adams

Famed American photographer Adams was an environmentalist who become known for his iconic black and white landscape shots of the American West. He was a leading visionary in nature photography and preservation of the wilderness. 

5. Anne Geddes

Geddes is an Australian-born photographer and philanthropist world-renowned for her love of all things baby. She captures the beauty and purity of children in beloved, fantasy-like shots full of whimsy — with a mantra of protect, nurture and love. 

6. Mario Testino

Testino is a Peruvian fashion and portrait photographer whose creative work has been featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ. He’s known for his photos of many, including Princess Diana, and his creation of emblematic and sensual images.

7. Jay Maisel

Maisel is a modern photographer known for creating simple photos without complexity — for capturing the light and colors found in the every day. His portfolio includes everything from Miles Davis, to Marilyn Monroe, to five Sports Illustrated swimsuit covers. 

8. Robert Capa

Robert Capa was a Hungarian photojournalist known as being one of the greatest combat photographers of all time. During the span of his career, he risked his life multiple times and was awarded the Medal of Freedom for his photographs of World War II.

9. Dorothea Lange 

Lange was a documentary photographer known for her 1930s chronicles of the Great Depression and her photographs of migratory farm workers and displaced farmers. One of her most widely recognized images is “Migrant Mother.” 

10. Yousuf Karsh

Karsh was an Armenian-Canadian photographer, referred to as one of the great portrait photographers of the 20th century by Time Magazine. He’s known for his compassionate, elegant and intimate portraits of famous men and women of politics, Hollywood and the arts.

The world around us bursts with poignant and profound photos and the brilliant photographers who capture them. Though there are many more to be named — our hope is to cover at least a handful of those famous photographers you should know. 

So next time they come up in conversation, you’ll know a bit more about them and what they’ve accomplished. 

“Photography is, for me, a spontaneous impulse coming from an ever attentive eye which captures the moment and its eternity.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

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