Per­haps the most impor­tant aspect of any cre­ative skill is obser­va­tion. In addi­tion to the­o­ry and even prac­tice, the cre­ator must be well versed in the works of famous mas­ters. There­fore, artists study the his­to­ry of art, musi­cians — musi­cal lit­er­a­ture, and pho­tog­ra­phers are told about pro­fes­sion­als in pho­tog­ra­phy. For­tu­nate­ly, you can explore these mate­ri­als on your own, choose the style that seems the most attrac­tive and shoot, refer­ring to the founders of the genre. Today we will talk about pho­tog­ra­phers whose work is a must-know for any­one who is pas­sion­ate about pho­tog­ra­phy.

Source: Photo­fo­cus

Alfred Stiglitz (1864 — 1946)

In 1890, Stieglitz returned to New York after study­ing in Ger­many to prove that pho­tog­ra­phy was no less a sub­ject of art than paint­ing or sculp­ture. As edi­tor of Cam­era Notes mag­a­zine, he sought to con­vey to read­ers the aes­thet­ic poten­tial of this medi­um. In 1902, Stiglitz and a group of like-mind­ed peo­ple broke away from the edi­to­r­i­al board of the mag­a­zine and cre­at­ed their own move­ment.

Pho­to-Seces­sion. The group shot doc­u­men­tary and reportage pho­tos, often depict­ing the life of the low­er stra­ta of soci­ety.

Stiglitz is con­sid­ered one of the great­est mas­ters of pic­to­ri­al­ism, that is, the con­ver­gence of the style of pho­tog­ra­phy with paint­ing.

Through­out the life of a pho­tog­ra­ph­er, his approach to real­iz­ing and prov­ing his own ideas has changed sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly, hence the con­stant­ly pro­gres­sive changes in style.

Among Stiglitz’s exper­i­men­tal pho­tographs, there are sev­er­al relat­ed to ear­ly solar­iza­tion. Most his­to­ri­ans believe that Stieglitz delib­er­ate­ly over­ex­posed his shots, but solar­iza­tion was only a side effect.

Stiglitz’s works have not only social, but also artis­tic val­ue. There­fore, every pho­tog­ra­ph­er should know about them.

Source: The Atlantic

Margaret Burke-White (1904–1971)

Bourke-White is known for sev­er­al achieve­ments at once. In 1930, she became the first West­ern pho­tog­ra­ph­er who was allowed to vis­it the indus­tri­al sites of the USSR, so her pho­tographs are of par­tic­u­lar val­ue for his­to­ry. And after that, she was invit­ed to work in Life mag­a­zine, where she became the first female pho­to­jour­nal­ist in his­to­ry.

One of the pic­tures she took for Life dur­ing the con­struc­tion of the Fort Peck Dam end­ed up on a US postage stamp.

Mar­garet Bourke-White has pho­tographed all over the world, one of her most famous pho­tographs is a por­trait of Gand­hi.

Her con­tri­bu­tions to his­to­ry did not end there, for dur­ing World War II she was the first woman war jour­nal­ist and the first woman to be allowed to work at the front. She was also the only for­eign pho­tog­ra­ph­er present dur­ing the Ger­man attack on Moscow.

Mar­garet Bourke-White cre­at­ed clas­sic reportage pho­tographs that cap­tured the envi­ron­ment and the essence of the char­ac­ters. Her pic­tures have always been lay­ered and emo­tion­al. Her work is held in sev­er­al US muse­ums and the Library of Con­gress.

Source: Quartz

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908 — 2004)

This pho­tog­ra­ph­er is called the father of pho­to­jour­nal­ism. In his work, he applied the edu­ca­tion of an artist and a graph­ic artist, which allowed him to form a unique style. From 1930, inspired by the pho­tographs of Atget, Kertész, and Munkac­sy, Carti­er-Bres­son pur­chased a small-for­mat Leica cam­era in order to take pho­tog­ra­phy seri­ous­ly.

With a group of col­leagues, Carti­er-Bres­son found­ed the pho­to­jour­nal­ism agency Mag­num pho­to. It was on behalf of this orga­ni­za­tion that he vis­it­ed India, Pak­istan, Chi­na, Indone­sia, Cuba, the USSR and oth­er coun­tries. The works of Carti­er-Bres­son were exhib­it­ed in the most famous muse­ums in the world, but in 1966, after leav­ing the Mag­num-Pho­to agency, Carti­er-Bres­son moved to Provence and devot­ed him­self to paint­ing.

Carti­er-Bres­son was the first pho­tog­ra­ph­er to apply the prin­ci­ple of invis­i­bil­i­ty to the char­ac­ters in his pho­tographs. He even sealed the ele­ments of the cam­era with elec­tri­cal tape so that they would not glare. His tra­di­tion is to shoot at the moment of the cul­mi­na­tion of events, and he usu­al­ly shot with stan­dard lens­es, avoid­ing tele­pho­to pho­tog­ra­phy. This forced the pho­tog­ra­ph­er to get as close to the sub­ject as pos­si­ble.

Source: The New York Times

Ansel Adams (1902–1984)

Adams is known not only for his pho­tographs, but also for his books, includ­ing the tril­o­gy “Cam­era”, “Neg­a­tive”, “Print”.

From the age of 17, Adams was a mem­ber of the Sier­ra Club, which was engaged in the pro­tec­tion of nat­ur­al mon­u­ments. This left an imprint on the theme of his pho­tographs, as many of them were nat­ur­al land­scapes and were used in the work of the club.

Already in the 1930s, Adams pub­lished pho­to­books and opened his own exhi­bi­tions. And in 1932, togeth­er with his col­leagues, he cre­at­ed the Group f / 64. This col­lec­tive adhered to the prin­ci­ples of direct pho­tog­ra­phy, being the oppo­si­tion to pic­to­ri­al­ism, which was also rep­re­sent­ed by Alfred Stieglitz.

Dur­ing World War II, Adams’ most promi­nent work was a pho­to­graph­ic essay on the his­to­ry of Japan­ese Amer­i­cans.

In addi­tion to his cul­tur­al con­tri­bu­tion, that is, his work, Adams devel­oped a “zone sys­tem” that allows pho­tog­ra­phers to deter­mine expo­sure and shut­ter speed for opti­mal mid­tone repro­duc­tion, and in 1946 he cre­at­ed the first depart­ment of pho­tog­ra­phy at the Cal­i­for­nia School of the Arts.

Among the famous works of the pho­tog­ra­ph­er are “The Teton Range and the Snake Riv­er”, and a col­lec­tion of Fiat Lux with pho­tographs of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia cam­pus.

Source: Muse­um Boi­j­mans Van Beunin­gen

Philip Halsman (1906–1979)

Hals­man is con­sid­ered the founder of sur­re­al­ism in pho­tog­ra­phy, which was large­ly facil­i­tat­ed by his acquain­tance and friend­ship with Sal­vador Dali. In addi­tion, Hals­man is one of the most famous por­trait painters, his pho­tographs were pub­lished in Vogue, Mg and Voila mag­a­zines, and Marc Cha­gall, Jean Girau­doux and Le Cor­busier were not­ed among the mod­els.

In 1945, Hals­man became the first pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Mag­a­zine Pho­tog­ra­phers, includ­ing being a staff pho­tog­ra­ph­er for Life mag­a­zine. Thanks to this, he was able to shoot famous por­traits of Ein­stein, Brigitte Bar­dot, Matisse, Sophia Loren, Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, Churchill and Jack Kennedy.

How­ev­er, one of his most famous projects was a joint col­lec­tion with Sal­vador Dali called Dal­i’s Mus­tache. This is a col­lec­tion of sur­re­al pho­tographs that use var­i­ous tech­niques and tech­niques that still impress pho­tog­ra­phers today.

Source: The For­ward

Dorothea Lange (1895 ‑1965)

Lange is best known for her pho­tographs of rur­al life in the Unit­ed States dur­ing the Great Depres­sion. She was edu­cat­ed as a pho­tog­ra­ph­er at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty direct­ly from Clarence White.

Like many oth­er pho­tog­ra­phers, her cre­ative path was close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Aper­ture mag­a­zine, of which she was one of the founders, and Life mag­a­zine. But she became known pre­cise­ly as a doc­u­men­tary pho­tog­ra­ph­er, thanks to pho­tographs of peo­ple’s dai­ly lives and the reflec­tion of their prob­lems in her pic­tures. This footage sub­se­quent­ly led to the cov­er­age of these issues in the media and the pro­vi­sion of assis­tance to those in need.

In 1941, hav­ing received a Guggen­heim Fel­low­ship for excel­lence in pho­tog­ra­phy, but hav­ing resigned it after the attack on Pearl Har­bor, she went to film the evac­u­a­tion of Japan­ese Amer­i­cans.

In 1945, at the invi­ta­tion of Ansel Adams, Lange began teach­ing at the Cal­i­for­nia School of Fine Arts.

Dorothea Lange is con­sid­ered one of the most influ­en­tial pho­tog­ra­phers in his­to­ry.

Source: Fen­i­more Art Muse­um

Edward Weston (1886 — 1958)

West­on’s intro­duc­tion to pho­tog­ra­phy began with a Kodak cam­era he received as a gift. He began film­ing in Chica­go and in 1911 opened his own stu­dio in Cal­i­for­nia. At first, adher­ing to the ideas of pic­to­ri­al­ism, lat­er West­on moved into the ranks of sup­port­ers of direct pho­tog­ra­phy. He con­stant­ly exper­i­ment­ed with styles and cre­at­ed unique com­po­si­tions. He also became the first pho­tog­ra­ph­er to receive a Guggen­heim Fel­low­ship.

In the 1920s, West­on became inter­est­ed in nude pho­tog­ra­phy. This genre remained one of the most fre­quent in the shoot­ing of the pho­tog­ra­ph­er, but in addi­tion, he often shot objects, por­traits, land­scapes and much more. In 2013, two pho­tographs of West­on’s work were among the most expen­sive stills ever sold. The Nude was bought for $1.6 mil­lion, and Nau­tilus for $1.1 mil­lion. After the pho­tog­ra­pher’s death, the largest exhi­bi­tions of his work were held in the USA and France. Most of the pho­tographs are either exhib­it­ed in muse­ums or are in pri­vate col­lec­tions.

Source: www.pinterest.ru

George Harrell (1904 — 1992)

The con­cept of glam­or and, accord­ing­ly, pho­tog­ra­phy in this style, is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the name of Her­rell. In the late 1920s, Hur­rell met actor Ramon Novar­ro and agreed to take some pic­tures of him. The actor liked the result so much that he showed them to Nor­ma Scher­er, who was just try­ing to get a role in the film. Col­lab­o­ra­tion with the actress gave rise to provoca­tive pho­tos unchar­ac­ter­is­tic for that time, which led to the fact that Scher­er’s hus­band offered Her­rell a con­tract with MGM. Work in the stu­dio did not last long, until 1932, when, after cre­ative dif­fer­ences, Hur­rell opened his own stu­dio. It was in it that he took pic­tures of today’s leg­endary actors: Jean Har­low, Joan Craw­ford, Clark Gable, Gre­ta Gar­bo and many oth­ers.

Near­ly all of Har­rel­l’s pre-war career con­sist­ed of celebri­ty shots, and all of the shots sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly main­tained the opu­lent and sub­lime image that Hol­ly­wood cre­at­ed. How­ev­er, in the 1950s, the require­ments were very dif­fer­ent, Har­rell moved into adver­tis­ing and worked in this direc­tion for almost ten years. After the 70s, most of his leg­endary works were album cov­ers. Albums by artists such as Tom Waits, Queen, Fleet­wood Mac, Paul McCart­ney, etc. received cov­ers cre­at­ed by the great Hol­ly­wood pho­tog­ra­pher’s cam­era.

Not all leg­endary mas­ters belong to this par­tic­u­lar time peri­od, but it was their work that gave rise to many direc­tions. Even today one can rec­og­nize in them the pure char­ac­ter­is­tics of styles and gen­res that are now achieved by much eas­i­er meth­ods. Real pro­fes­sion­al­ism and huge con­tri­bu­tions are what all these pho­tog­ra­phers have in com­mon. And the main thing for any­one who seeks to hone their skills is the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn from their exam­ple, rec­og­nize the specifics and char­ac­ter­is­tics and, of course, adopt tech­ni­cal and artis­tic tech­niques.

When learn­ing from the mas­ters, it is best to first turn to the most leg­endary and tal­ent­ed his­tor­i­cal fig­ures. This is the only way to learn both his­to­ry and prac­tice.


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