Hey FashionPhotographyBlog.com readers!
Need some inspiration? Look no further! Here are a few of the Masters of Photography. Tried and true, these men have stood the test of time. I’m a firm believer that you can’t call yourself a photographer unless you study the history of the medium and have an understanding of the masters – who they are and what they did that sets them apart from the rest. In my opinion, this applies to all areas of life, so here’s a cheat sheet to those commonly referred to as “The Masters.” Who they are, what they did (and why they’re so awesome). I’ll even make it easy for you – they’re sorted alphabetically.
Adams, an environmentalist and symbol of the American West, is best known for his black and white landscapes. Adams initially developed the “Zone System,” a technique of determining exposure, development and contrast, to help his students create optimal prints. This technique became indicative of Adam’s style and results in the images we all known and love. Ansel Adams shot using a large format camera and is a founding member of “Group f/64” – a group of “Modernist” photographers that shared a sense of style characterized by sharp-focus (largely uncommon at the time).
Most well known for his images of fashion and portraiture, Avedon became an icon in the later half of the 20th century. Avedon is the master of minimalism, known for well lit portraits in front of a white background. Using the large format camera to his advantage, Avedon would use the time it took to compose a shot to get into his subjects head and pull out emotions that typically aren’t photographed by anyone but Avedon.
Along with Avedon’s work for all the big fashion magazines and designers, he is known for his series, “In The American West,” where he traveled the rural American West with a portable studio and typically used a large format camera, the sun and a white background to create some of his most iconic images. If you ever have the opportunity to see an Avedon print in person, seize it! His prints are beautiful. You can get lost in them. Be sure to take notice of the depth of field and tonal ranges.
Bernd & Hilla Becher
A married German photography team, Bernd and Hilla Becher are known for their series of structures arranged in grids, referred to as “typologies”. They come from a school of “straight” photography, which depicts a scene as objectively as possible.
The Becher’s have also left their mark on photography through their teaching. Mentors to some other big names in photography such as Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth (check them out!) they’re considered one of the biggest influences in the history of photography.
Henri Cartier Bresson
Considered to be the father of modern photojournalism, Bresson is known for coining the term “the decisive moment”. Bresson is known for developing a unique style of street photography that has influenced photographers to this very day. Bresson was a believer of composing his images, in camera, not in the darkroom and was an avid user of Leica 35 mm cameras, shooting only black and white film.
Eggleston is one of two fathers of color photography. He is known for his aesthetic which transforms ordinary, mundane subjects into something extraordinary – by elevating the color to be the true subject due to the simplicity of his tangible subject.
Evans is most well known for his work documenting the Great Depression for the Farm Security Administration. Evans’ finds success in the fact that his images are relatively “objective” – well, as objective as a photographer can be.
Mapplethorpe is known for his huge black and white images of flowers and nudes. The homoeroticism and sexual energy apparent in Mapplethrope’s work has evoked quite some criticism and controversy.
Ralph Eugene Meatyard
Meatyard is famous for his somewhat haunting images of masked people, most commonly children. According to Meatyard, he felt that all people are connected and when you don a mask, it removes any differences. Consider his work somewhat of a commentary on connectivity and individuality. Despite declaring himself a “dedicated amateur,” Meatyard had been noticed in serious photography circles. Unfortunately he died of cancer before the age of 50, with only around 14 years of photography under his belt.
Continue reading for part two of the Masters right here!
Did you find Alana’s post about the Masters of Photography useful? Do you agree with the selection? Is there any that you would add as your inspiration? Please leave your comments below in the comment section. We would like to know what you thought about this post. If you enjoyed this article, don’t go away as Alana has another post with even more photographic masters just around the corner on FashionPhotograhyBlog.com. If you want more photographic inspiration, check our post “My Top 10 Favorite Photographers“.
Feature image & images 1-12: courtesy of Alana Tyler Slutsky.