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Famous Photographers: List of the Best Photographers of All Time

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 5/18/2011

This famous photographers list feature 5 of the most well known and most influential photographers in history. We take a look at these visionaries' works and how they achieved success and fame.

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    There are many names that stand out in the world of photography, but there are some that are simply legendary. The following is a famous photographers list. These are photographers that have made their mark in the field of photography, inspiring thousands of aspiring photographers and earning the admiration of their fellow professional photographers. Let us take a look at their styles and how they achieved their fame.

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    Helmut Newton

    Helmut Newton deserves a spot on our famous photographers list for his erotic photography, often featuring women in the nude or barely dressed. His passion for the female form was incubated during his time in Asia after he moved away from Germany to escape the wrath of Hitler. Consorting with different kinds of females kept his life colorful and exciting, but he never lost track of what he really wanted, which is to be a photographer for Vogue magazine.

    When he finally settled in Australia, he started concentrating on his photography and eventually earned a spot as a photographer for French Vogue. This is where his legendary style began to develop as he photographed women in ways never seen before. His provocative photos soon made their way to other fashion magazines and publications that centered on the female form like Elle, Marie-Claire, Queen, Playboy and several editions of Vogue magazine. His signature series of photographs feature nude women, and it is a style that is unparalleled for more than half a century now. His view of photography may be controversial, but it has set the bar for fashion and nude photographers across the world.

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    Ansel Adams

    The contributions of Ansel Adams to the world of photography go beyond pretty pictures of landscapes and natural forms. He developed the zone system, which is a technique to control exposure and how photographs are developed in such a way that the photographer's vision of an image is produced without modifying the image. He is a very technically photographer and he wrote technical photography manuals that are still regarded as influential and relevant in the modern era. Adams was not always the great technical photographer he is now known as, though.

    He began as a musician, inspired by the nature that surrounded him as he grew up in San Francisco. He did photography on the side, but he found that it was a more lucrative career path than being a musician, so slowly switched from being a musician to being a full time photographer. This move paid off as he became one of the most prominent photographers of the 20th century, thanks to his style that gave more focus on the clarity of the camera's lens, which gave off the impression that no manipulation was done to the images. Using great technical skills in photography, he managed to capture the natural beauty of nature.

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    Edward Weston

    Edward Weston can simply be described as a rebel. From a line of intellectuals, he deviated from the usual jobs his family member had like doctors and professors. He chose to engage in artistic ventures, leading him to the field of photography. He started to join photography contests in the California area, and by his mid 30s, he was already a regular in those circuits. However, as he started to win all the contests easily, he began to move away from the usual style of contest entries. The content he used was still the standard painting content used in those contests, but he focused more on making his photos more forceful with more detail and more personality. This is how he made his mark in the field of photography.

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    Alfred Stieglitz

    At the dawn of the 20th century, one man tried to convince the world that photography is an art form, and he succeeded. Alfred Stieglitz in included in our famous photographers list because he stayed away from the norm by not joining the usual camera clubs in New York. Instead, he founded the Photo-Secession, which is an invitation-only camera club. They set out to define photography as an art form. Stieglitz even insisted that all images found in their club's official publication be called “pictures" and not “photographs". Before this, those two terms were interchangeable. Stieglitz differentiated those two terms by producing pictures of the city and nude people. As much as his photographs of a developing New York city was equisite and artful, his fame came from his infamous arrogance and manipulative nature, all for the sake of pushing photography as an art form. He succeeded but not without losing friends and allies along the way.

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    Richard Avedon

    Portraiture is Richard Avedon's game. His approach and vision of a portrait, which involves showing not just the clothes and the makeup a model is wearing, but the model's stance and emotions as well, earns him a spot in this famous photographers list. His philosophy on photography is that a portrait is as much about the subject person as it is about the fashion. His range of photographic portraiture includes taking photos of both famous and unknown people, all evoking those people's emotions and personality in the photographs.

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