Photography is often the art of the anonymous - rarely do we find out who was on the other side of the lens. We can all name a few famous photographs, like the famous Time Square picture or the one of iron workers sitting high above a city, but most of the time we don't spend time looking at the history of the medium as art. However, by understanding influential artists, it can have a big impact on how we see photography and inspire new ideas.
Although there are dozens of photographers that we could have highlighted as making significant impacts on the art of photography, these three particular photographers helped to make photography the art form it is today. Just keep in mind that this list could have easily included legends like Ansel Adams, however we choose to focus on these 3 artists as their influence is recognized worldwide.
Photo Journalist Henri Cartier-Bresson
Though the name may not be as familiar, Cartier-Bresson was a giant in the development of modern photography. He is known as one of the forefathers of photo journalism and spent much of his adult life working on assignments for magazines like Life. Fearless and daring, Henri Cartier-Bresson captured images from some of the most volatile environments in history, including the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the liberation of Paris during WWII, and the Spanish Civil War.
Famous Photography by Henri Cartier Bresson - The Decisive Moment
Photographer Alfred Stieglitz
If you've ever studied photography or taken a photo class then you would likely recognize his name. Stieglitz was married to Georgia O'Keeffe, a legend in her own right, and many of his most iconic images center around her. He was responsible for forcing photography into the public view as a valid art form, which he accomplished through innovative exhibits organized around the country. Stieglitz was known as the father of pictorialism. Pictorialism is where the significance of the picture is more about the way in which the photographer manipulated the image than about the importance of the subject.
Famous Photography by Alfred Stieglitz- The Terminal
Photo Journalist Larry Burrows
Larry Burrows is a legend among photo journalists. Often referred to as the man who went off to war "with film in his socks," Burrows is most widely known for his work covering the Vietnam war for Life magazine. His images marked some of the most iconic and heart-wrenching reporting to come out of the region and also provided the public with a window into the conflict. Sadly, Burrows was killed in the conflict when his helicopter was shot down but his images have lived on as well as his tales of heroic actions like carrying soliders to safety and rescuing civilians.
Famous Photography by Larry Burrows - One Ride with Yankee Papa 13
Whenever we work in any art medium, it's important to remember the artists who came before us and the contributions they made. These 3 photographers have had an enormous impact on the validity and importance of photography as an art form. You should check out biographies or photo collections by each of these artists as viewing amazing and famous photography can often lead to great new paths.
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