As a photographer, you want to continue to learn and grow. To experiment, try new things, and most importantly, to find the motivation and the inspiration behind your artwork. A great way to do so, is by learning from some of the best photographers in history that have truly made an impact on many people and in the world of photography.
Henri Cartier Bresson
Cartier got his inspiration from a keynote text from the 17th century Cardinal de Retz, which quotes, “Il n’y a rien dans ce monde qui n’ait un moment decisif” which translates, “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.” He continues, “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.” His style was unique. He became one of the very first street photographers, as he found capturing ordinary moments to be the best of masterpieces. A fun fact about him is that he always shot in black in white, even after color film was invented.
Leibovitz dedicates mainly to portrait photography. She started off her career as a staff member for Rolling Stone magazine. Her talent and her impressive way of capturing the genuine intimate moment with celebrities, got her to become chief photographer of Rolling Stone. She was actually the one who took the memorable photo of John Lennon and Yoko, and was unfortunately, the last professional person to see Lennon alive, as he was assassinated five hours later. However, once she captured their photograph together, Lennon expressed “you’ve captured our relationship exactly.” She has also been the very first woman to exhibit her photographs at the Washington’s National Portrait Gallery.
Adams captured landscapes in black and white and was known for the clarity and high contrasts in his photographs. His photos have been widely distributed and used for calendars, posters, and books. He and Fred Archer both created the “Zone System” which is a technique used in photography in order to help determine optimal film exposure and development. He expresses that the Zone System is “not an invention of mine; it is a codification of the principles of sensitometry, worked out by Fred Archer and myself at the Art Center School in Los Angeles, around 1939–40.” His creative darkroom work has been a massive inspiration for many photographers around the world.
Lange was an American documentary photographer who captured some of the most powerful images during the toughest and most historical events in all of history, such as the Great Depression and the Japanese internment camps. Her photographs captured intense moments, and lifetimes in an instant. Behind each and every one of her photos, was a story, such as behind the iconic photograph known as “The Migrant Mother.” This image is known the world around and is a truly remarkable piece of art as it tells such a gorgeous story.