Photography (fəˈtɒɡrəfɪ)


1. (Photography) the process of recording images on sensitized material by the action of light, X-rays, etc, and the chemical processing of this material to produce a print, slide, or cine film

2. (Photography) the art, practice, or occupation of taking and printing photographs, making cine films, etc


1. Rankin

John Rankin Waddel, better known as Rankin, is a British portrait and fashion photographer. He is famous for working with an impressive clientele and a non-exhaustive list of models, actors/actresses and musicians. He made his name in Publishing after founding Dazed & Confused magazine with Jefferson Hack in 1992. The magazine provided a platform for emerging stylists, designers and writers, which went on to develop cult status and forged a distinctive mark in the arts. Rankin is often seen as a celebrity photographer, but his work with charities and campaigns, which feature ‘Real women’, mark him to be a genuinely passionate portrait photographer across a wide spectrum of industries. "There’s a time when people say your work is revolutionary, but you have to keep being revolutionary. I can’t keep shooting pop stars all my life. You have to keep changing, keep pushing yourself, looking for the new, the unusual." - Rankin


2. Tim Walker

Tim Walker is a British fashion Photographer. Walker’s passion for Photography began in the Condé Nast Library, where he worked on the Cecil Beaton archive. After studying Photography at the Exeter College of Art, Walker worked as a freelance photographic assistant in London before moving to New York to work as a full time assistant to Richard Avedon. On his return to England, Walker focused on portrait and documentary work for British Newspapers. Age 25, Walker shot a story for Vogue and has since worked with the British, Italian and American editions as well as many other well-recognised and renowned publications. Walker’s work is very enchantingly beautiful, and looks like something from a fairytale. His work is always well composed, and has been likened to a snapshot of a daydream. “Fashion for me is just a massive dressing-up box. There's always something black, there's always something baggy. In fashion there is always something you can mix together that becomes the costume in the play."


3. Richard Avedon

Avedon was an American fashion and portrait photographer. Upon his death in 2004, an obituary published in The New York Times noted that “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century”.

Avedon’s career began working as an advertising photographer in a department store. By 1945 his photographs began appearing in Junior Bazaar and a year later Harpers Bazaar after being endorsed by Alexey Brodovitch, the art director for Harpers Bazaar. Avedon’s career took off and he was recognised for his unique and revolutionary shooting style, which was a depart from the norm of traditional emotionless poses and instead showed models full of life, and in many cases, open air and outdoor settings. In 1955, Avedon made fashion photography history when he worked with one of the most successful models in history, Dovima, on his piece, ‘Dovima with Elephants’. Several photographers including aforementioned Rankin with model Erin O’Connor have since recreated homages to this piece. Avedon’s work is stylistic and his portraiture is easily identifiable by the black and white image on a white or grey background.


4. David Bailey

Bailey, an English fashion and portrait photographer, renowned for his work with British Vogue and his co-creation of ‘Swinging London’, a culture of fashion and celebrity chic in the 1960’s. His early photographic life began with his purchase of a Rolleiflex camera after time spent serving with the Royal Air Force. His creativity burst through and after he was demobbed in 1958. Determined to pursue a career in Photography, he went on to become a second assistant in a studio before being called to an interview with photographer John French. Baileys work is iconic, and his clientele is impressive and long. Regularly shooting in Black & White, his photos are very stylistic and identifiable. There’s simplicity about his photographs and they often look clean, which has influenced other photographers such as Rankin.


5. Irving Penn

Penn, although famous for his art, kept fame at arms length. An incredibly private man, he was rarely interviewed and in many ways denied the existence of fame in his life. Penn was offered a position at Vogue in the art department before being asked to try Photography. In October 1943, his first photographic cover appeared on Vogue and he continued to work for the magazine up until his death in 2009. Penn was among the first photographers to use a simple grey or white backdrop behind his subject. His work has inspired many modern day fashion photographers. Modest in his abilities and often self-critical, Penn has been described by Anna Wintour as one of the leading artists in the 20th century.


6. Ansel Adams

Adams is the only Landscape photographer on the whole list I’m afraid, but one I very much admire the work of. Known for his careful composition and consideration for tone, he is the perfect example of well-executed landscape photography. His life began in western San Francisco, born to upper class parents. His father, with whom Adams had a warm, supportive relationship with, developed his passion for the outdoors. However his distant relationship with his mother was driven by her disapproval of his interest in Photography. Adams love of the outdoors was cemented by his first visit to Yosemite National Park with his family where his father presented him with his first camera. Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space. I know of no sculpture, painting or music that exceeds the compelling spiritual command of the soaring shape of granite cliff and dome, of patina of light on rock and forest, and of the thunder and whispering of the falling, flowing waters. At first the colossal aspect may dominate; then we perceive and respond to the delicate and persuasive complex of nature.”- Ansel Adams.  Adams also identified as an environmental activist. He spoke passionately and acted on causes, which concerned him. The Big Sur coastline was one, which caused Adams much aggravation as he fought to protect it from development.


7. Mario Testino

When reading interviews with Testino, he comes across as wild, charismatic and ‘in the moment’. Hailing from Peru, the fashion photographer felt unaccepted by the norms of society there and was often criticized and bullied for his dress sense. Moving to London aged 22, dying his hair pink and moving into a hospital turned apartment just off the Strand, opened up new possibilities to Testino. Testino flourished in London and in 1980 when he decided to pick up a camera, he began documenting his friends’ social lives with candid shots rich in spontaneity. His career has grown spectacularly and has been described as "the world's most prolific magazine and fashion trade photographer.” By Aaron Hicklin of The Observer. He has an impressive list of clients and has been featured in magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair. In 1997 his career high point came when he was chosen by Princess Diana to photograph her for Vanity Fair.  Since then, the British royal family has regularly employed Testino.  


8. Euginio Recuenco

Hauntingly beautiful, Recuenco's photographs convey a sense of mystery, but rather like a painting by Giorgio De chirico, they leave the viewer with a sense of dread and unease.The Spaniards work has been featured in magazines such as Vogue and his work has been described as cinematic. When asked about his cinematic style in relation to Fashion Photography, Recuenco replied, I'm not a slave to fashion. When I take a picture I do it to tell something, to tell a tale, to tell people what I'm thinking about and I use fashion to achieve this target.  I do not like having a very nice, beautiful model with a beautiful dress because I like to have content in my picture.” His style is very unique and his photographs tell stories beyond fashion. Recuenco isn’t worried about being bold and creative. His recent homage to Picasso, combines cubism with fashion photography, represented through his use of fragments in the photographs and the models geometric clothing. This is a photographer worth researching to better understand the full impact and power of his work.


9. Annie Leibovitz

Annie’s work is almost theatrical in appearance. Her career in Photography began in 1970 when she began working for the newly launched Rolling Stone magazine. Her intimate photographs of celebrities whilst working there until 1983, defined the Rolling Stone look. The infamous photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono has become a defining photograph in her ongoing career. The photograph features a naked Lennon curled up into Yoko, looking vulnerable in the fetal position. This photo is of particular importance as it was taken 5 hours before Lennon was shot. There is no doubt that Leibovitz is a highly talented photographer. Her capabilities have stretched from intimate Rock and Roll photos for Rolling Stone, to elegant shoots for Vanity Fair all the way to enchantingly beautiful pieces for a Disney Parks project. Leibovitz has proven herself to be an important and versatile photographer, competent in many areas.


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10. Henri Cartier-Bresson

Considered to be the father of Photo Journalism, the French photographer is known for his candid photography and early use of 35mm film. He developed his interest in photography from an early age, funded by his parents so that he could explore the art more freely. After moving to England to study at Cambridge, Cartier-Bresson went on to Africa where he shot game and learnt new techniques in Photography. On his return to France, he decided to take up photography seriously, and to develop his skills. After displaying his work in New Yorks Julien Levy Gallery, he was assigned a fashion shoot by Carmel Snow of Harpers Bizarre. His inexperience with models proved challenging as the shoot was a failure. However, Snow was the first to publish Cartier-Bresson’s work in a magazine. In September 1939 at the beginning of WW2, Cartier-Bresson joined the army as a corporal in the film and photo unit. Captured the following year by German soldiers, he went on to spend 35 months in a prisoner of war camp under Nazi control. After 2 failed escape attempts, he managed to escape on the third attempt and hid on a farm in Touraine where he obtained false documents to allow him to travel around France. He worked for the underground, aiding others and working secretly with other photographers to document the occupation and liberation of France. The American office requested that he make a documentary, La Retour, covering French prisoners and displaced persons. By 1947, working with other photographers, ‘Magnum Photos’ came to life. The agency was a cooperative owned by its members, documenting events and news around the world. Cartier-Bresson received international recognition for his work covering Ghandi’s funeral in 1948. His book, ‘The decisive moment’, has gone on to influence photographers around the world. "There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative," he said. "Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever." – Henri Cartier-Bresson, Washington Post 1957.

Here are some of the photographers that almost made the list, and there’s many more. They are equally as important as the names mentioned above, but my list couldn’t go on forever. 

-       Craig McDean

-       Erwin Blumenfeld

-       Norman Parkinson

-       Peter Lindbergh

-       Paul Gore

-       Robert Frank

-       Steven Klein  

Written by

Katherine Thomson