Photography is another form of art, in a way it is a language which can enable us to express ourselves. Images can be quite impressive, as they can leave an impact on the viewers, and they provide fascinating insight of the moments. We can learn from photographers who dedicate themselves to particular subjects, gaining a better knowledge and understanding of their subjects better, to produce an image that can tell a more complete story to viewers unfamiliar with the subject matter. Here are a list of the inspiration of photographers that I hope will grab your attentions.
One of my favourite photographers is Ansel Adams. He is very well-known for his breathtaking monochrome landscape and nature photographs, his work is rich and luminous in tonal quality from deep blacks, creamy mid tones, to bright white that maintain immense detail. His style was based on visualization final image prior to exposure, through the development process and then printing to achieve the visualization, he created the Zone System which is a method for exposure and development of a black and white negative to produce tonal detail from the brightest highlights to the deepest shadow.
He was part of the F/64 group of photographers that used the smallest apertures to create photographs with incredible depth of field. He had a passion and love for the environment which clearly shows in his photographs, I find his work holds so much inspiration and detail, the contrast is striking and absolutely stunning and overwhelming; they cry out nostalgia for me, they are so expressive and surreal.
Elliott Erwitt is a street photographer, he is known for his diverse and ironic photographs. He was born in Paris in 1928 but immigrated to America with his parents at the age of ten. While attending school in Hollywood, he took an interest in photography, he became hooked to it and turned his laundry room into a darkroom, later with his saved money he purchased his first real camera a Rolliflex. He would photograph people that were around him such as neighbors and pedestrians in the streets. Also, for a living he divided his time by taking his own photographs, shooting weddings and printing pictures of film stars. In the 1950s he joined the army and served as a photographers assistant and later joined the Magnum Photos group.
His work show immense curiosity and observation about the world and that he is aware of what is around him. He has shot the most powerful images in history such as the times of segregation, old Pittsburgh, U.S.S.R, to iconic photographs of Marylin Monroe, Che Guevara, Andy Warhol and Simone de Beauvoir. Another of his most noteworthy photographs is of a traumatized Jackie Kennedy at her husbands funeral, beyond the veil he captures such a heartbreaking moment that she is suffering. His other work is also quite witty such as photos of dogs and comedic scenes; they’re quite humorous. His photos show sensitivity to human conditions, his love of dogs, humorous situations and everyday settings.
Richard Avedon was a fashion and portrait photographer who had worked for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue for a number of years. He has shot prominent figures such as Martin Luther King j.r, Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, Katherine Hepburn and many more. He was able to capture rare emotion and a unique essence of his subjects. Some of his images appeared provocative, haunting, abusive, bleak, shocking which at that time would have been controversial. He helped turn photography into an expressive art form.
His unique style in his photographs were famous for their minimalism, as he used a plain white sheet as a background for even lighting, it enhances the subjects details, your eyes are drawn to the sharp facial expressions and body movements. One of his most iconic photos is of a model with chained elephants known as ‘Dovima with Elephants’, it portrays surrealism and juxtaposition. The photo represents a contrast of opposites; freedom and captivity, grace and power.
His artistic style brought a sense of sophistication and candidly photographed people as their authentic selves, he captured his subjects as if frozen in time, clearly had the ability to create truthful, intimate, breathtaking photographs they possess creative and stunning quality. He also used a large Deardoff view camera with 8 by 10 inch sheets of film and a Rolliflex camera.
Yousuf Karsh was an Armenian-Canadian photographer, he is well-known for his magnificent portraits. Yousuf has photographed several people either unknown and very notable figures, from Albert Einstein, Queen Elizabeth, Georgia O’Keeffe, Grace Kelly, Picasso, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, the Kennedy s to Muhammad Ali and many more. His most famous portrait was of Winston Churchill, in 1941 he sat Churchill for his portrait and asked him to remove his cigar, irritating him but capturing him at the time perfectly, appearing defiant and unconquerable.
When shooting for his portraits he would interact with his subjects to get to know them better so they would be more relaxed, he would also shoot them in their own environments as they would be more familiar and make them more at ease in front of the camera and he would capture more their own selves.
His style and technique to accomplish his masterpieces were his skills with the lights: because he shot his portraits in black and white, the lighting and the contrast were important, the lighting on his subjects is impeccable, successfully catching the several unique expressions, he considered the light as a tool and managed to manipulate it expertly in the studios and the darkrooms. He would carefully use and arrange the lighting to meticulously catch the subjects features and had the ability to take photographs that communicate.
His style in his portraits appear timeless and artistic, the lighting and the composition are well set complementing the detail in the unique features of the faces, he was also distinctively known to light the hands separately as he felt the hands were an important part of the portrait because hands are just as expressive as the face and add more interest in the picture.
The inspirations of these photographers are all unique, they capture a particular moment, transforming the subjects or sceneries into unforgettable photographs, just by looking at the photograph it can change the way you see and experience the world, that the photographers see in their observations and want to share with the viewers to feel the same effect as it had on them.
I hope these great photographers provided some inspiration for your work and remember to shoot with your heart and emotion and make your photos reflective of your personality.