100 Most influential photographers of all time
1. Richard Avedon. American. 1923-2004
Avedon was the epitome of the modern photographer – a charming, sophisticated man-about-town and a photographer who was able to cross photographic genres. It did not matter where he was, which format he chose to work with or who his subject was, the image would be an Avedon image. It would have that unmistakeable elegance and confidence that marked him out, not just as a great photographer but as a highly successful commercial photographer, who was able to create instantly iconic and memorable images. So what’s his influence? His large-format portrait style with the stark white background, his use of two images to tell one portrait story, his use of strobe lights in fashion, the book In The American West? Of course it’s all this and more. Avedon is a photographer whom every photographer should get to know via his books. They cover his whole career and not only chart his own photographic and personal development but also, that of commercial photography over the last half of the twentieth century. Quite simply he is our No.1.
2. W. Eugene Smith. American. 1918-1978
Intense and at times obsessed with his work. He helped establish the photo story and the power of black & white printing.
3. Helmut Newton. German. 1920-2004
Newton created erotically charged and powerful images of women, and developed the use of ring flash in fashion images.
4. Irving Penn. American. 1917- 2009
Every portrait shot in the corner of a room or simple symbolic still life owes something to Penn. He is the established genius of American Vogue magazine.
5. Guy Bourdin. French. 1928-1991
No one has been more imitated over the last few years in fashion and art photography than Bourdin. Erotic, surreal and controversial.
6. Henri Cartier-Bresson. French. 1908-2004
The creator of ‘The decisive moment’. He never cropped his images and only shot in black & white. A Leica-wielding legend.
7. Diane Arbus. American. 1923-1971
Freaks, loners and people on the edges of society’s norms were Arbus‘s subjects. Her direct and simple portrait style and subject matter have inspired ever since.
8.Elliott Erwitt. French. 1928-
Magnum member and humorous observer of everyday life. His juxtapositions of form and images of dogs show art is where you find it.
9. Walker Evans. American. 1903-1975
The chronicler of American life who brought a detached observer’s eye to all of his images. He created order and beauty through composition where there was none.
10. Martin Parr. British. 1952-
Parr’s use of intense colour and his ability to raise the snapshot to the level of art has led to him being recognised as the master chronicler of the every day.
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Image credits: Richard Avedon.