There have been many conversations about who is the greatest photographer of all time? Or who is in the top 10? But the top 10 will be different for all of us for many different reasons. There are many different forms of photography, portrait, fashion, landscape and so many more. So I am just going to talk about photographers who are known for photographing people.
I have compiled a list of 99 + 1 photographers who you should really know about! The top 10 are those who inspire me the most, for many different reasons. The rest are all equally inspiring and have probably been in my top 10 at one time or another and if not, they probably will be some day! I have listed them alphabetically because I really don’t think I could arrange them in the top 100, I would be writing this blog for days arguing with myself over who should go where!
Some of you may not agree with my list, some of you may think that someone is missing. That’s fine, this list is just my top 99 + 1, maybe you should try making your own for inspiration!
# 1. David Bailey
I look to his work for inspiration, sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it, it’s simple, classy and elegant, no wonder Vogue loved him so much!
# 2. Irving Penn
A true master of combining portraits, art and fashion. So many of his images could hang on a museum’s wall or be in a fashion magazine at the same time. Timelessness, that is what he has created.
# 3. Helmut Newton
Helmut Newton was regarded as a pig by feminists, wow, were they wrong! He simply loved powerful women. Women were meant to be strong, don’t be distracted by the nudity, that is when you will miss the point of it all!
# 4. Horst
His images of women and fashion are more inspirational to the boudoir community than I think they even know!
# 5. Annie Leibovitz
Probably not for the reason you would think. I love her attitude and the way she commands the set. She admits that she has made mistakes, big ones, but she has learned from them. Okay, she also has some brilliant work!
# 6. Edward Weston
Clean lines, moving the human figure into a work of fine art. Stunning, simple and beautiful. Less is more.
# 7. George Hurrell
If it wasn’t for George Hurrell Hollywood would not be what it is today! His work created icons and he is the reason for glamour photography. He had the ability to take a photograph of a movie star in the 1930’s and to this day people will still desire to be like that person.
#8 Herb Ritts
When I was first learning about photography he was the photographer who was “it”. If I had someone to idolize as a photographer it was him. I look back at the photos I tore out from magazines to hang on my bedroom wall and so many of them were shot by him. He didn’t put people on his canvas, he had the ability to make people his canvas.
# 9. Ellen Von Unwerth
I almost want to steal the slogan from Hooters, “delightfully tacky yet unrefined” but she is so much more than that. Her work is fashionable, slightly erotic, classy and so desirable to look at all at the same time.
# 10. Paolo Roversi
He is the Polaroid king! Masterful lighting alluring mood and hauntingly beautiful imagery.
Honorable (and inspires me in many ways) # 11 . June Newton AKA Alice Springs
I admire June so much, and not just for having to put up with Helmut! He had told her before they were married that she would always be his second love, photography being the first. The support she gave him, the fact that she accepted him as he was and loved him for it. These are the things I respect in her and find so inspiring. She once said this “He wasn’t interested in people. ‘I’m not interested in soul,’ he said. But I was, and I tried to steal them.” She saw the soul in people and she showed the soul in herself, she just might be moving up on my list very soon!
Here are the remaining 89 in alphabetical order by first name…
Haley Jane Samuelson
Julia Margaret Cameron
Mary Ellen Mark
W. Eugene Smith