Sunday, February 6, 2011

Looking Back at the World's Best Photographers

© Irving Penn, Miyake Sunglasses, February 10, 1995
For the past two weeks I've been taking a break from making pictures to reflect on the photographers and photographs that inspired me to pick up a camera.  The project started as a simple top ten list, where I'd name the photographer, his show iconic picture and find a pertinent quote or two.

However, I quickly realized that I had many, many more influences I had imagined possible.  In many cases, the photographers I admire most, not surprisingly, mastered multiple fields to the point that they have more than one iconic photo.  The search for images online was very interesting and rewarding.  For instance, I'd never seen this arresting Irving Penn shot of Miyake sun glasses.

Researching the quotes was also interesting.  I remembered very well most of the quotes from the photography press super stars, but stumbled upon some new precious nuggets.  For instance, I'd never read this one:

"I myself have always stood in the awe of the camera. I recognize it for the instrument it is, part Stradivarius, part scalpel." - Irving Penn

For some reason, I lost track of my early heroes, like Bert Stern and Hiro.  It was great to catch up!  I missed it that Stern reprized his famous "Last Monroe" session 46 years later with a Marilyn-wig-topped Lindsay Lohan.  Hiro's style changed from ultra-wide angle, ultra sharp, ultra saturated color still life work to moody monochrome portraits and cocks fighting in a dizzy blur.

I'd love to hear from everyone about who their favorite photographers are.  If you like to see the rest of my top 38 favorite photographers, see my Influences - Photographers page and let me know what you think!

Bert Stern, Marlyn Monroe

Bert Stern, Lindsay Lohan 


benjamin gandhi-shepard said...

Great list Preston!

Here are some of my favorites:

Jasper James

P Flock


Preston Page said...

Ben - thank you for sharing your guys! Most on my list have passed away, so it is great to see those still active :)