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Famous Landscape Photographers That Changed Our World

written by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 11/4/2010

These photographers were all well known for their stunning landscapes, as well as their creativity and experimentation. By learning a bit about their lives, philosophies, and the way they worked, we can all begin to see the world with more of an artistic eye.

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    Open the Door to Expression

    Famous landscape photographers have a way of capturing our emotions and inspiring us with the manner in which their well-trained eye photographs scenery in all its splendor and mysterious allure. That’s why it’s well worth the time for any photography enthusiast to learn a bit about the biographies of these individuals to better appreciate their own endeavors. The following biographical snapshots of these skilled photographers are an excellent starting point in which to launch you into an examination of the minds that create visual masterpieces. The quick links provided lead you to some of the best examples of the landscape photography they’ve captured.

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    Ansel Adams

    Let's begin with Ansel Adams, one of the most famous landscape photographers of all time. It's virtually impossible to not encounter some of his images of the mountains and all their intriguing, craggy lines along with the dramatic depictions of coastlines, somewhere in the course of your life do to his popularity. In keeping with a love what you do kind of philosophy, Adam's reverence for wilderness and the stunning vistas in this world shined through in his landscapes. While the love of his subject is evident in his pictures, it was the skills and practices he honed in his career that make them truly spectacular.

    In fact, he published several technical books about photography (which was in its relatively new stages in the 1930s) that espoused maximizing the cameras limited potential in capturing the intricacies of wilderness landscapes using what is known as the "zone system." To learn exactly what that is, along with some interesting facts about his young life which contributed to the discipline he practiced in creating what he considered fine art, read this expose on Ansel Adam’s Landscape Photography. You’ll find plenty of images of his work there too.

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    Christopher Burkett

    Believing photography to be a spiritual expression, Christopher Burkett's landscapes certainly can foster that kind of experience in anyone who views his work. His large formats have been known to spark a deep appreciation for the wonders of the American landscape. His goal has been nothing short of showing people the divine grace and inspiration that is found in the natural world.

    On the technical side of perfecting his craft, Burkett developed Cibachrome printing which helps capture his subject matter in the most vibrant colors possible. He is also well known for hand printing his images, exemplifying the detailed dedication to every facet of his efforts to create art. For a more in-depth look at his life, including his initial endeavors at a monastic life and plenty of examples of his masterful photos, read about his life here.

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    David Muench

    Here’s another famous nature photographer, especially in the U.S., that is known for his depictions of the vast and stunning natural settings in the American West. The beauty of his work is so stunningly transcendent that he was commissioned to track the epic journey of Lewis and Clark in murals which can be seen at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C.

    His style approaches a Zen-like attention to detail to the drama inherent in nature which inspires not just a love, but a desire to protect, these landscapes in his audience. In keeping with Bright Hub's efforts to bring you the world on a concise and supremely edited platter, we've also got an expose, replete with his photos, dedicated solely to David Muench as well.

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    Agnes Warburg

    This British photographer that lived in the early and evolving years of art through photographic expression (1872 – 1953), was also accomplished in capturing landscapes, although her portraits were also well known. She belonged to a school of thought known as the Pictorialist group which believed there craft to be an expression of fine art, mimicking the standards in academic painting, as opposed to the gaudy commercial explosion of photography in the late 19th and early 20th century. From a technical standpoint, Agnes Warburg’s experimentations with the autochrome coloring process, which was a technique using tiny grains on the film to act as filters produced soft depictions of pastoral settings, were remarkable.

    This is far from a comprehensive list of the famous landscape photographers that have had major influences in this type of photography but, as stated, they’re an excellent place to start in order to perhaps transform the way you see the world through the lens of a camera. For a more extensive list, visit this link at digitalphotographer.com. No matter what your skill level is or how long you’ve been tinkering with a camera, be proud of the fact that you’re out there making art and appreciating the glorious scenery out there for the taking on planet Earth.