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10 of the Most Influential Photographers

After the ability to capture both light and image was finely tuned by Louis Daguerre, the medium now known as photography was introduced to the world in 1839 as a method through which aspects of life

After the ability to capture both light and image was finely tuned by Louis Daguerre, the medium now known as photography was introduced to the world in 1839 as a method through which aspects of life that could not be captured, in anything but portrait form, could be seen and lived through again. Though the medium existed in black and white for many years, the introduction of color photography in the early 1900’s altered the possibilities of the lens anew, as did the recent development of digital photography which has given the person behind the camera the ability to capture and manipulate the image like never before.

Photography has been a popular means of expression since it was first released to the public, but the possibility of what the camera can do has changed dramatically since it was created. As an art form that is still relatively new to the scene, the discovery inherent in photography runs the gamut. From the enigmatic fashion photography of Richard Avedon, who popularized the idea of an emotive and active subject, to Henri Cartier-Bresson, who put great emphasis on the moment of action, there have been many trailblazers who have changed the current entirely.

While the possibilities of this art form continue to evolve, the following photographers have managed to maintain their foothold in its path of evolution and command an influence that extends beyond the timelessness of their photographs.

11 Man Ray

10 Helmut Newton

9 Frans Lanting

8

7 Walker Evans

6 Diane Arbus

5 Robert Frank

4 Richard Avedon

3 Ansel Adams

2 Henri Cartier-Bresson

1 Alfred Stieglitz

Born in 1864 in Hoboken, New Jersey, Stieglitz showed great promise in his youth, but it wasn’t until his family moved back to Germany in 1881 that he discovered his interest in photography. Building his familiarity through writing about the technical aspects of the medium, Stieglitz soon developed a following. Upon returning to the United States in 1890, he joined The Camera Club of New York where he wielded his influence, promoting photography as a true art form.  However, by 1902 he had tired of the old way of doing things and broke from the club, kick-starting the Photo-Secession movement and promoting it through Gallery 291. While Stieglitz’s ideas of photography were continually changing throughout his life, his dedication to enhancing the medium pushed it to the forefront as its own fine art and gave photography much of the prominence it has today.

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10 of the Most Influential Photographers