- May 10, 2017
10 Famous Photographers- Learnings from their Life & Photography
"Keep yourself in shape so you can enjoy photography for a lifetime."
Ansel Adams is the most famous photographer of all time. Even non-photo nerds know Ansel Adams and praise his stunning landscapes.
Adams is well-known as a master of the darkroom.
His black and white landscapes of Yosemite and Grand Teton are outstanding for the captivating contrast that he achieved with extensive dodging and burning in the darkroom. Even later in his life, he continued to use large format cameras.
Ansel Adams got old, like we all will. Even at 80 he was probably more fit than 90% of photographers out shooting today.
"Cartier-Bresson quit photography because he felt he had said all he wanted to through that medium. He came to photography through painting, then returned to painting in his later years."
Cartier-Bresson did not even like developing his own photos. His photojournalistic style has done more to influence photography than any other photographer's contribution.
He was one of the first photographers to switch over to the 35mm format and used exclusively Leica cameras with 50mm lenses.
Like Ansel Adams, he shot almost exclusively in black and white.
He was never really interested in the printed image, only the capturing of particular moments (the decisive moment) in the camera.
Photography was simply the tool he needed to use for his purpose of recording the world in a certain way (the only tool available for that purpose). And, when that purpose was complete, he quit photography.
He locked his camera in a safe in his home and rarely even took it out.
“A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.”
Annie Liebovitz is a contemporary portrait photographer who is well known for her work over the years with Rolling Stone Magazine and Vanity Fair.
Her best-known photograph is a portrait of John Lennon with Yoko Ono, which was taken the same day that John Lennon was murdered.
Her business-related issues and her artistic talent as a photographer are two distinct things. She’s obviously better at one than the other. Getting to know your subject (or about your subject) isn’t anything unique to her. From the piece, what you could learn from her is to become more knowledgeable about best business practices and practice them.
Recently, Leibovitz has found herself struggling through financial disaster caused by poor financial planning.
"One of the great problems with photography is that any twat you give a camera to can take a photograph. What that does to the photographer is immediately create an inferiority complex within him because anyone can do it, which of course they can."
"Ninety-nine per cent of my work was advertising and crap. The people who were hiring me I didn’t like. Keeping a civil tongue up the rectum of a society that keeps you paid is an art which I was devoid of. I had nothing more to say in photographs. (1979, on why he quit photography) "
"I never wanted to be famous. I wasn’t as steady as a tripod. "
Brian Duffy is an English photographer best known for his work shooting fashion in the 1960's and 1970's.
Later in life, Duffy lost his interest in photography and even burned more than half of his entire portfolio of negatives in a fire. Fortunately, some of the photos were saved from the flames and remain on exhibit today.
One year before Duffy died, he began taking photos again.
“That frame of mind that you need to make fine pictures of a very wonderful subject, you cannot do it by not being lost yourself.”
“You know there are moments such as these when time stands still...”
Dorothea Lange was an American photojournalist who is best known for her photos of the Great Depression.
Her photo Migrant Mother is one of the most well-known pictures in history.
Aside from her well-known work documenting the Great Depression, she also worked tirelessly to photograph the internment camps in the 1940's.
Great photographers like Dorothea Lange dedicate their time and talent to fully capturing one theme or person before moving on to the next photography project.
Dorothea Lange said, “Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion… the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate.”
"The trouble with photographing beautiful women is that you never get into the dark room until after they've gone."
"Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness."
Yousef Karsh's portraits truly speak volumes about the person. He is the Ansel Adams of portraiture.
The images of the portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh, are everywhere. You’ll find them on book jackets, bank notes and postage stamps, and of course, in art galleries and photography books too.
Over his 67-year career, Karsh photographed some of the most notable thinkers, artists, entertainers, and leaders of the 20th century, using a lighting technique he himself pioneered.
He watched carefully for moments of real emotion in his subjects. As soon as they appeared, snap! He pressed the shutter release without warning. No heads up, no countdown from three.
He always lit the hands of the subject separately from the lighting on the rest of the person. He felt that the hands were a vital part of the story of any portrait.
"Photography in our time leaves us with a grave responsibility. While we are playing in our studios with broken flower pots, oranges, nude studies and still lifes, one day we know that we will be brought to account: life is passing before our eyes without our ever having seen a thing"
"After twenty years you can begin to be sure of what camera will do"
Brassai's real name was Gyula Halasz, he was best known for his work on the streets of Paris.
He did not photograph celebrities or have fame or fortune like many of the other famous photographers.However, his street photography showing ordinary people has made him famous throughout time.
"This war is like an actress who is getting old. It is less and less photogenic and more and more dangerous."
"I would say that the war correspondent gets more drinks, more girls, better pay, and greater freedom than the soldier, but at this stage of the game, having the freedom to choose his spot and being allowed to be a coward and not be executed for it is his torture."
Robert Capa is best known for his war-time photography. He worked tirelessly to cover five different wars, including World War II. Capa was one of the co-founders, along with Cartier-Bresson, of Magnum Photos.
Not only was Capa a great photographer, he was also a fantastic business man. He and an associate decided to form a partnership in which he would take the pictures and do the darkroom work, the associate would do the marketing and sales. They found that they could get a much higher price in selling the pictures to the newspaper if they sold the photos under the made-up name “Robert Capa” and inventing the story that he was a rich man. Fraudulent? Probably. Did it work? Definitely.
He was a combat photographer! He was known for literally getting down in the trenches with the soldiers to take photos, rather than taking photos from a distance as was the common practice.
“There are no uninteresting things. There are just uninterested people.”
“One of the major changes in attitude that occurred in the world of art as we moved from the nineteenth into the twentieth century was that the twentieth-century artist became more involved with personal expression than with celebrating exclusively the values of the society or the church. Along with this change came a broader acceptance of the belief that the artist can invent a reality that is more meaningful than the one that is literally given to the eye. I subscribe enthusiastically to this.”
Jerry Uelsman has established a photographic style using multiple photos to create a surrealistic and impressionist composite image. Born in 1934, he used film for many years and built his works using film cameras.
His work became famous mostly for his abilities in the dark room.
He never switched to digital cameras. He said, ” “I am sympathetic to the current digital revolution and excited by the visual options created by the computer. However, I feel my creative process remains intrinsically linked to the alchemy of the darkroom.”
"For those who were desperate, my camera became an object of hope .Throughout my year-long coverage of the monsoon world, my strongest conviction was that I was involved in the fundamentals of life"
"My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport."
Steve McCurry is no stranger in the realm of photography. Famous for his iconic photograph, The Afghan Girl, he has created a legacy that stands firm in the field of documentary photography.
While working as a photographer for a local newspaper, after which he made the first of his many trips to India and several other countries all over the world. Since then, he has been telling stories with powerful photographs.
Steve’s experience as a photographer is a testament to this quality. He went out to meet people and immersed himself in different cultures to produce quality photographs that reflected his experiences.
His photographs ought to be more than mere spectatorship. Steve believes that photographs should be taken in such a way that they leave their viewers lingering with questions about the people and places captured.
He epitomized "The rule of thirds" a fundamental rule in photography, which involves using is a 3x3 grid to define the composition of a picture.