If you are an aspiring photographer or if you are just starting out in the business, it would be wise to study how the professionals achieved success in the field. You do not have to copy their career decisions and their artistic styles. You just have to get the right ideas from them and develop your own take on the business and the art form. Here are 5 famous American photographers that could provide inspiration for your upcoming foray into the field of photography.
Edward Steichen was born in Luxembourg but he did not stay there long. Within 2 years of being born, Steichen’s family migrated to America. They moved to Chicago, then Hancock in Michigan. They finally settled in Milwaukee where Steichen finished eight grade. He became an apprentice at the American Fine Art Company after that. When he obtained his first camera in 1895, his career in photography was well on its way to becoming legendary. At first, he took photos to earn money, but as he became more involved and passionate about photography, he began to participate in exhibitions. He even got into painting. Both his painting and photography bodies of work got rave reviews as they were exhibited.
His style started off to display mystery with the use of soft focus dream-like photographs. He mainly focused on natural forms, rarely taking interest in architecture and other non-organic imagery. Later in his career, he turned his focus on the female form. He became a master of femal portraiture. In the decades leading to the end of his career, he used photography as a tool to promote social awareness about a range of topics.
Joe Rosenthal took one of the most widely recognized photos of all time which is that of a Navy corpsman and five Marines raising the American flag in the island of Iwo Jima during World War II. This photo is so iconic that it is considered a work of art. He may have taken a lot of photos during the war, but it is this dramatic moment caught on film that has etched his name in history.
Rosenthal was not always on the front lines of war. He started his career in photography working for San Francisco newspapers. He wanted to become a military photographer, but because he had poor eyesight, he was rejected. This did not stop him from taking photos of the war, though. The Associated Press assigned him to cover the war in the Pacific which led him to take photos of the invasion of New Guinea, Guam, Guadalcanal and Japan where he got the chance to capture the iconic Raising of the Flag on Iwo Jima.
Edward Weston was most famous for taking photos of landscapes, natural forms, close-ups and nudes. His work impressed even his peers, leading them to call Weston the master of 20th Century Art. His legendary career in photography began around 1906 after his first published work was published. He continued with his passion for the field until he eventually decided to get formal training in photography. He got it from the Illinois College of Photography in Effington, Illinois. He continued his career in Los Angeles, California where he worked as retoucher first then as an actual photographer. Early on in his career, people already started noticing that he is gifted in setting the right lighting and posing for his subjects. He continued honing his craft throughout the years, even opening up a studio in Mexico City in 1923. After 3 years, he moved back to California to do a series of photographs that many consider his best work. He continued contributing beautiful works of art until he started to experience symptoms of Parkinson’s disease around 1946.
Like most famous photographers, Sally Mann studied the arts before engaging in a career in photography. She was born in Lexington, Virginia where she also went to school. She has pretty much based her home and work in Virginia even after she graduated from Hollins College with a BA degree and an MFA degree in creative writing. She has spent her early career as your average photographer making a living out of taking pretty pictures, but she caught the world’s attention with her work featuring her children. What defines her career so far is the series of photos she has done that feature her own children and their lives caught in a candid light. Her works featuring her children has been drawing controversy for years, and there seems to be no stopping her from taking photos and her children from opening up their private lives for all the world to see.
You may also want to read the controversies of Sally Mann photography.
Among the listed famous photographers, no one has the stake of being the best in landscape photography as much as David Muench. He was born in Santa Barbara, California, but his passion for taking wonderful photos of landscapes took him to distant and exotic lands. He enhances the natural beauty of his subject landscapes and gives them a personality that entices people to go see those landscapes themselves. His photos have been published in different kinds of media like books, magazines and other types of publications. Perhaps because of his wanderlust and desire to see new and unique settings, he has stayed a freelancer photographer for over half a century.