Artists throughout history have never shied away from controversy—in fact, many even try to court infamy. (Need proof? Just look at Banksy, the anonymous street artist who recently created a work that self-destructed the moment it was sold at auction—for a whopping $1.37 million.) While it’s up to critics and historians to debate technique and artistic merit, there are some works of art that shocked most people who saw them. From paintings deemed too lewd, too rude or too gory for their time to acts of so-called desecration and powerful political statements, these are some of the most controversial artworks ever created.
1. Michelangelo, “The Last Judgement,” 1536–1541
Some 25 years after completing the Sistine Chapel ceiling, Renaissance polymath Michelangelo returned to the Vatican to work on a fresco that would be debated for centuries. His depiction of the Second Coming of Christ in “The Last Judgement,” on which he worked from 1536 to 1541, was met with immediate controversy from the Counter-Reformation Catholic church. Religious officials spoke out against the fresco, for a number of reasons, including the style with which Michelangelo painted Jesus (beardless and in the Classic style of pagan mythology). But most shocking of all were the painting’s 300 figures, mostly male and mostly nude. In a move called a fig-leaf campaign, bits of fabric and flora were later painted over the offending anatomy, some of which were later removed as part of a 20th century restoration.
2. Caravaggio, “St. Matthew and the Angel,” 1602
Baroque painter Caravaggio’s life may be more controversial than any of his work, given the fact that he died in exile after being accused of murder. But his unconventionally humanistic approach to his religious commissions certainly raised eyebrows in his day. In the now-lost painting “St. Matthew and the Angel,” created for the Contarelli Chapel in Rome, Caravaggio flipped convention by using a poor peasant as a model for the saint. But what upset critics the most were St. Matthew’s dirty feet, which illusionistically seemed to jut from a canvas (a recurring visual trick for the artist), and the way the image implied him to be illiterate, as though being read to by an angel. The work was ultimately rejected and replaced with “The Inspiration of St. Matthew,” a similar, yet more standard, depiction of the scene.
3. Thomas Eakins, "The Gross Clinic," 1875
This icon of American art was created in anticipation of the nation’s centenary, when painter Thomas Eakins was eager to show off both his talent and the scientific advances of Philadelphia’s Jefferson Medical College. The realist painting puts the viewer in the center of a surgical amphitheater, where physician Dr. Samuel Gross lectures students operating on a patient. But its matter-of-fact depiction of surgery was deemed too graphic, and the painting was rejected by the Philadelphia Centenary Exhibition (some blame the doctor’s bloody hands, others argue it was the female figure shielding her eyes that put it over the edge). However, a century later, the painting has finally been recognized as one of the great masterpieces of its time on both its artistic and scientific merits.
4. Marcel Duchamp "Fountain," 1917
When iconoclastic Marcel Duchamp anonymously submitted a porcelain urinal signed “R. Mutt 1917” as a “readymade” sculpture to the Society of Independent Artists, a group known to accept any artist who could come up with the fee‚ the unthinkable happened: the piece was denied, even though Duchamp himself was a cofounder and board member of the group. Some even wondered if the piece was a hoax, but Dada journal The Blind Man defended the urinal as art because the artist chose it. The piece marked a shift from what Duchamp called “retinal,” or purely visual, art to a more conceptual mode of expression—sparking a dialogue that continues to this day about what actually constitutes a work of art. Though all that remains of the original is a photograph by Alfred Stieglitz (who threw the piece away) taken for the magazine, multiple authorized reproductions from the 1960s are in major collections around the world.
5. Robert Rauschenberg, “Erased De Kooning," 1953
In some ways, Robert Rauschenberg’s “Erased De Kooning” presaged Banksy’s self-destructing painting. But in the case of the 1953 drawing, the artist decided the original artwork must be important on its own. “When I just erased my own drawings, it wasn’t art yet,” Rauschenberg told SFMoMA in 1999. So he called upon the most revered modern artist of the day, the mercurial abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning, who, after some convincing, gave the younger artist a drawing with a mix of grease pencil art and charcoal that took Rauschenberg two months to erase. It took about a decade for word of the piece to spread, when it was met with a mix of wonder (Was this a young genius usurping the master?) and disgust (Is it vandalism?). One person not particularly impressed was de Kooning himself, who later told a reporter he initially found the idea “corny,” and who some say resented that such an intimate interaction between artists had been shared with the public.
6. Yoko Ono, “Cut Piece,” 1964 / Marina Abramovic, “Rhythm 0,” 1974
As performance art emerged as an artistic practice in the postwar years, the art form often pushed toward provocation and even danger. In Yoko Ono’s “Cut Piece,” a 1964 performance, the artist invited the audience to take a pair of scissors and cut off a piece of her clothing as she sat motionless and silent. “People were so shocked they did not talk about it,” she later recalled.
Ten years later, Marina Abramovic unknowingly revisited the concept with “Rhythm 0,” in which the artist provided the audience with 72 objects to do what they “desired." Along with scissors, Abramovic offered a range of tools: a rose, a feather, a whip, a scalpel, a gun, a bullet, a slice of chocolate cake. Over the course of the six-hour performance, the audience became more and more violent, with one drawing blood from her neck (“I still have the scars,” she has said) and another holding the gun to her head, igniting a fight even within the gallery (“I was ready to die”). The audience broke out in a fight over how far to take things, and the moment the performance ended, Abramovic recalled, everyone ran away to avoid confronting what had happened. Since then, Abramovic has been called the godmother of performance art, with her often-physically-extreme work continuing to polarize viewers and critics alike.
7. Judy Chicago, “The Dinner Party,” 1974–79
With her “Dinner Party,” Judy Chicago set out to advocate for the recognition of women throughout history—and ended up making art history herself. A complex installation with hundreds of components, the piece is an imagined banquet featuring 39 women from throughout mythology and history—Sojourner Truth, Sacajawea, and Margaret Sanger among them—each represented at the table with a place setting, almost all of which depict stylized vulvas. With its mix of anatomical imagery and craft techniques, the work was dubbed vulgar and kitschy by critics, and it was quickly satirized by a counter-exhibition honoring women of “dubious distinction.” But despite the detractors, the piece is now seen as a landmark in feminist art, on permanent display at the Brooklyn Museum.
8. Maya Lin, “Vietnam Veterans Memorial,” completed 1982
Maya Lin was only 21 when she won the commission that would launch her career—and a national debate. Her design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was chosen by a blind jury, who had no idea the winning designer was an architecture student. While the proposed design fit all the requirements, including the incorporation of 58,000 names of soldiers who never returned from the war, its minimalist, understated form—two black granite slabs that rise out of the earth in a “V,” like a “wound that is closed and healing,” Lin has said—was immediately subject to political debate by those who felt it didn’t properly heroize the soldiers it honors. One veteran called the design a “black gash of shame,” and 27 Republican congressmen wrote to President Ronald Reagan demanding the design not be built. But Lin advocated for her vision, testifying before Congress about the intention behind the work. Ultimately it came down to a compromise, when a runner-up entry in the competition featuring three soldiers was added nearby to complete the tribute (a flag and Women’s Memorial were also added later). As the distance from the war has grown, criticism of the memorial has faded.
9. Ai Weiwei, “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn,” 1995
Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei is one of art’s most provocative figures, and his practice often calls into question ideas of value and consumption. In 1995 the artist nodded to Duchamp with “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn,” a piece he called a “cultural readymade.” As the title implies, the work consisted of dropping, and thus destroying, a 2,000-year-old ceremonial urn. Not only did the vessel have considerable monetary value (Ai reportedly paid several hundred thousand dollars for it), but it was also a potent symbol of Chinese history. The willful desecration of an historic artifact was decried as unethical by some, to which the artist replied by quoting Mao Zedong, “the only way of building a new world is by destroying the old one.” It’s an idea Ai returns to, painting a similar vessel with the Coca Cola logo or bright candy colors as people debate whether he’s using genuine antiquities or fakes. Either way, his provocative body of work has inspired other acts of destruction—like when a visitor to a Miami exhibition of Ai’s work smashed a painted vessel in an illegal act of protest that mirrored the Ai’s own.
10. Chris Ofili, “The Holy Virgin Mary,” 1996
It’s hardly shocking that an exhibition called “Sensation” caused a stir, but that’s just what happened when it opened in London in 1997 with a number of controversial works by the so-called Young British Artists: Marcus Harvey’s painting of killer Myra Hindley, Damien Hirst’s shark-in-formaldehyde sculpture, a installation by Tracey Emin titled “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With (1963–1995),” and Marc Quinn’s self portrait sculpture made of blood. When the show hit the Brooklyn Museum two years later, it was “The Holy Virgin Mary,” a Madonna by Chris Ofili that earned the most scorn. The glittering collage contained pornographic magazine clippings and hunks of resin-coated elephant dung, which media outlets erroneously reported was “splattered” across the piece. New York mayor Rudy Giuliani threatened to pull the city’s $7 million grant for the show, calling the exhibition “sick stuff,” while religious leaders and celebrities joined the protests on opposite sides. Two decades later, Ofili’s controversial painting has earned a place in the arc of art history—and in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
Famous Paintings That Will The Scare The S**t Out Of You
What's more frightening than a ghoul who sits on your chest as you sleep? How about a hairy gentleman with a penchant for eating offspring? A bird-footed demon that enjoys stomping on condemned souls? A pile of limbs left to rot in room temperature? A public flaying?
The short answer is: art history is terrifying. Because all of the above and more take place in the canvases of painters past, from Henry Fuseli to Francisco Goya to Artemisia Gentileschi to Katsushika Hokusai.
Since Halloween is less than a dozen days away, we couldn't help dedicate this week's roundup of overlooked and adored paintings to the scariest themes in art. Forget binge-watching horror flicks on Netflix -- just scroll through this collection of scream-inducing artworks. Happy All Hallows' Eve!
Horse: Phil, is Gretchen awake yet?
Phil: Silence, Horse, I'm stealing her soul.
Brad the lamprey is a surprisingly skilled painter.
"Saturn, this is why we don't let you babysit."
At Jen's party, there's going to be a bird eating a human who's ejecting birds from his butt.
Pretty sure every horror film has taught me that you shouldn't look into this guy's eyes.
"Saturn, enough, seriously."
NBD, it's just a pile of bloody limbs.
Reggie the cyclops is both adorable and petrifying all at the same time.
Goliath: I refuse to bob for apples at this year's Halloween party.
Please excuse Samantha, she's drunk on holiday spirit.
"Holofernes, you knew the drill. Refusal to bob for apples results in decapitation."
Edith is #psyched about haunting people this Halloween.
Thank goodness a live band was available for the public flaying on such short notice.
"Ghost of a flea, we're not 100 percent sure what you're all about, but we'd appreciate it if you put some clothes on."
Kathy is handing out toothbrushes this Halloween and there's nothing. You. Can. Do.
"Hold on, guys, just doing a Halloween dance across the jaws of a hell beast."
King Norman was like, "What? I thought we were fillet-ing. Like, a fish fry. What the shit is this?"
Somewhere, out there, someone is swiping left on Tinder right now.
After a weekend of partying, Maryanne can't even.
Each week, HuffPost Arts & Culture attempts to bring to light a few forgotten gems with our slightly humorous look back at art history. For past examples see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
9. Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf is a name that will likely always be remembered. One, because it’s awesome. Two, because she made some of the greatest contributions to the literary arts in recent history. Basically, if you haven’t read one of her books, chances are you’ve at least heard of one of them, making her more famous than 99% of writers ever.
Field Of Awfulness: Intellectual Superiority, Elitism
Today, her books are studied and read by millions of children. But unless those kids have a trust fund, Woolf would have hated the thought of them reading her work. You see, Woolf was a staunch supporter of the leisure class (In other words, people with enough money to not work) and was quoted as saying that reading and learning should be exclusive to them. Yes, Woolf felt that learning and reading was a special gift that belonged to rich people.
She took class snobbishness a step further in her own home. When her diaries were made public, people combing through them noticed a rather unsettling trend. Woolf loved talking smack about her servants. In her private diaries, she expressed everything from disgust to pity at the people literally cleaning up after her mess. She felt they deserved more, but also believed they’d never be able to enjoy life on as deep a level as she did.
Woolf eventually took to giving all her servants orders via notes she’d leave around the house and, when her orders weren’t followed, she’d note in her diary that this only proved the “inherent stupidity” of the working class. You know, instead of saying something to their faces, like an actual human being would.
ARTISTS AND ART CRITICS
Before the twentieth century, several artists such as Hogarth, Goya, Géricault and Fuseli had taken an interest in the insane, though mainly as subject matter for their painting. It was really in the early 1900s that the art of the mentally ill began to attract the artistic community. This interest should be seen in the general context of a dissaffection with established western culture and a search for new modes of expression. Artists looked to so-called primitive cultures, to the art of children, and, of course, to the art of the mad. For example, Paul Klee, like many Expressionists, was greatly influenced by Prinzhorn's book. He wrote:
‘In our own time worlds have opened up which not everybody can see into, although they too are part of nature. Perhaps it's really true that only children, madmen and savages see into them’ 2 .
Max Ernst was also intrigued by the art of the insane, and his work clearly reflects its influence. Ernst was probably responsible for introducing Prinzhorn's book into French Surrealist circles, where it created a profound impression. Inspired by the writings of Sigmund Freud, the Surrealists wished to explore the unconscious, and saw dreams, automatic writing and madness as a means of entering this dark and disturbing territory. They regarded madness as a state of absolute freedom𠅊 state in which bourgeois law had no jurisdiction. Madmen were perceived to have broken free from the cage of reason and logic. As the poet, Paul Éluard wrote:
‘We who love them understand that the insane refuse to be cured. We know well that it is we who are locked up when the asylum door is shut: the prison is outside the asylum, liberty is to be found inside’ 2 .
In the first Surrealist Manifesto, André Breton, the leading theorist of the movement, wrote:
‘The confidences of madmen: I would spend my life in provoking them. They are people of a scrupulous honesty, and whose innocence is equalled only by mine. Columbus had to sail with madmen to discover America’ 15 .
A few years later, Breton published an autobiographical novel, Nadja, in which he described his real-life encounter with a young woman who was descending into psychosis. Here he did indeed provoke the confidences of the mad. The young woman, the eponymous Nadja, formed a relationship with Breton during which she became mentally more disturbed, ultimately being admitted to an asylum. In her last weeks with Breton she completed a series of drawings, some of which were reproduced in the novel. Breton acknowledged that he may have played a part in precipitating Nadja's breakdown. He did not visit her in the asylum, and instead railed against the psychiatric system. Polizzotti 16 is surely right when he suggests that Breton's anger was fuelled by his personal guilt over Nadja's predicament. Breton's novel can be read as a collision between an intellectual theory of madness and the actual experience of the sufferer.
The Surrealist view of insanity was essentially a Romantic one, in which madness was seen as a process of liberation𠅊 voyage of discovery to the unconscious. This Romantic view was undermined by the fate of an artist connected with Surrealist circles, Antonin Artaud, whose mental breakdown demonstrated that madness was a terrifying and dislocating experience 17 . Artaud heard voices, developed delusions about doubles and magical conspiracies, and had bouts of extreme withdrawal. He spent several years in asylums, where he drew pictures and came to identify with Vincent Van Gogh. Artaud contended that society was hostile to men of genius, locking them up in institutions or driving them to suicide. In his words, Van Gogh had been ‘suicided by society’.
The artist who most comprehensively embraced the work of the mad was Jean Dubuffet, who was greatly inspired by the work of Wolfli and also by Prinzhorn's book. He went on to make his own collection of patientart, which he amassed from asylums throughout Europe and which is now housed in Lausanne. Dubuffet believed that western culture was arid and stifled by convention and tradition. He saw in the work of the mentally ill a breaking away from these constraints. As he wrote, ‘Madness unburdens a person, giving him wings and helping his clairvoyance’ 18 . Dubuffet christened such work art brut ( Figure 2 ).
Heinrich Muller. Two Faces (Collection de l'Art Brut with permission)
Dubuffet's views, like those of the Surrealists, owed much to the Romantic movement. There is in the writings of Dubuffet a curious paradox in which, on one hand, the mentally ill are accorded special abilities such as the possession of startling visions and insights, and, on the other, the existence of such a thing as mental illness is denied. Further, there is another paradox in which psychiatrists are derided for reducing people to diagnostic categories, while the same writings hail patients diagnosed as schizophrenic as the undisputed masters of the genre. Dubuffet's notion that madmen were able to escape the influence of the culture in which they lived now seems untenable.
Dubuffet's influence can be seen in later accounts of the art of the mentally ill𠅏or example, in the writings of Michel Thevoz 19 . Quoting R D Laing with approval, Thevoz sees insanity as a refusal to adapt to a sick society. Further, he perceives madness as an inner voyage, and psychiatrists with their drugs and hospitals as inimical to creativity. Thevoz raises the question as to whether modern-day psychiatric treatment has served to destroy the artistic potential of the mentally ill. It is not clear that medication does stifle creativity. Jamison 20 , in her survey of mentally ill artists, found that, while some felt that medication impaired their abilities, others reported that it gave them the stability to work. Thevoz does concede that there is an important ethical point here: is it better for the patient to feel well but uninspired, or to be tormented but creative?
The term outsider art was introduced to the English-speaking world in 1972 by Roger Cardinal 14 in his book of the same name. The book not only examined the work of the mentally ill but also encompassed other groups such as eccentrics and misfits. More recent suryeys, for example by Maizels 21 , Ferrier 22 and Rhodes 23 , give a measured assessment of the art of the mentally ill which contrasts with the extravagant claims of Dubuffet and Thevoz.
10 Really Weird Pieces of Classical Music
Classical music seems to have a reputation for being straight-laced, stuffy, and obsessed with rules. But over the centuries, hundreds of composers have tested the boundaries of musical expression in strange and unique ways. Here are ten prime examples.
1. 4'33" — John Cage
In the last 50-odd years, John Cage's personal favorite work, 4'33" has become something of a running joke and subject of derision in the music world. It's easy to see why: to perform the piece, a pianist walks on stage, opens the lid of a grand piano, sits down at it, and then lowers the lid. With a stopwatch set for exactly four minutes and thirty-three seconds, he sits in complete silence, occasionally opening and closing the keyboard to indicate the various "movements" of the piece. What kind of music is that?!
When Cage wrote 4'33", he seems to have intended for us to turn our attention not to the music on stage, but to the music and sound we all make as we watch this performance. In the seemingly silent concert hall, a symphony of new noises start to emerge that we took for granted moments ago: coughs, the squeaking of your seat as you slightly move, and even the guy scratching his head 30 feet away become a part of this score.
2. Organ2/ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible) — John Cage
In 1985, John Cage continued his tradition of questioning the nature of music and performance with ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible), a piece which—as the title suggests—simply instructs the performer to play it "as slow as possible." In 1987, Cage published a new version for organ and since 2001, a cathedral in Halberstadt, Germany has been making good on Cage's instructions: Their organ has been playing the piece so slowly that it is not expected to finish until some time in the year 2640. In October 2013, more than a thousand people gathered to hear the thirteenth note change in the piece another one is not expected to occur until September, 2020.
3. Fugue in G Minor (Cat Fugue) — Domenico Scarlatti
Though this piece may seem tame by today's contemporary standards, the (potentially apocryphal) story of how Baroque composer Scarlatti supposedly came across the rather unconventional motif makes it worth mentioning on any list of weird classical pieces. Scarlatti claimed that his cat, Pulcinella, was prone to walking across the keyboard. One day, in one of the feline's unexpected performances, the melody now synonymous with the "Cat Fugue" caught the musician's attention, and the rest was history.
4. Duetto Buffo di Due Gatti — Unknown
On another cat-related note, this 1800s art song also seems worthy of the "weird" crown, this time because of its unorthodox lyrics and musical humor. Duetto Buffo di Due Gatti, which roughly translates to "humorous duet for two cats," seems to tell the story of two cats meeting, lashing out at each other, and eventually making friends in an operatically styled duet using only the word "meow" (spelled "miau" in most scores). Though the work was originally published unattributed, conventional wisdom seems to point to Barber of Seville composer Gioachino Rossini as either the composer or a target of the work's parody due to its heavy appropriation of the famous vocal writer's compositional idioms.
5. Einstein on the Beach — Philip Glass
Let's zip forward 150 years to another "operatic" work. In 1975, Philip Glass, perhaps the most famous composer from the school of minimalism—which attempts to uncover the beauty in repetition and slight variation—wrote Einstein on the Beach, an opera in four acts and by far one of his longest works.
We call Einstein on the Beach an opera largely because we have no better name for what it is. There isn't much traditional opera in the work: there is no plot the singers seem to represent specific thematic threads more than characters and seemingly orthodox structural and performance vocabulary like "scene" and "aria" seem to take on a different meaning. Perhaps the most interesting parts of the work are its "Knee Plays," connecting tissue between the acts that combine a chant-like choral pattern with highly rhythmic human narration for an ethereal effect. The unexpected moments of synchronicity between the two parts create a strangely paradoxical feeling of serene disorientation.
6. Violin Concerto No. 2: The American Four Seasons — Philip Glass
Another from Glass's minimalist library, this piece was composed as a companion to noted violinist Robert McDuffie's touring performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons concerto. Aside from the piece's unorthodox instrumentation—which puts a synthesizer and harpsichord on the same stage—Glass does something else to surprise us by refusing to reveal which movement goes with which season, forcing you to "figure that one out for yourself."
7. The Unanswered Question — Charles Ives
Though the first drafts of the piece appeared in 1908—more than 50 years before the first pangs of minimalism would emerge—the effects of Charles Ives's The Unanswered Question can be felt throughout the movement. The piece features three different ensembles: strings, brass, and flutes, all separated from each other and playing in wildly different rhythms and keys. The score also calls for the string section to be hidden from the audience, creating an eerie, disembodied sound.
8. Requiem — Andrew Lloyd Webber
Perhaps the strangest part of this piece isn't the bombastic and unapologetic dissonance or rock-influenced orchestration, but the composer himself. Webber, who is far more famous for his musical theatre works like Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera, has said he wrote the requiem as a personal contemplation on mortality and legacy after the death of his father. Despite the hard rock sound, Webber seems to have successfully captured the more tender feelings of grief and loss, especially in the softer moments of his "Dies Irae" movement.
9. String Quartet No. 6 — Brian Ferneyhough
Any of Ferneyhough's pieces would have been at home on this list: The composer has a highly unorthodox style that includes unusual time signatures, and he routinely pushes instruments to the limits, forcing the use of unorthodox techniques to create unexpectedly harsh sounds. In fact, Ferneyhough is frequently regarded as one of the most difficult composers to play on any instrument.
10. A Musical Joke (K. 522) — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
While many composers on this list attempted to use unorthodox techniques and stylistic choices to depict complex emotions or uncover human truths, Mozart did it simply to entertain! His Musical Joke was a piece written intentionally to be as bad as possible. Mozart disobeyed many harmonic rules of the time, created cloyingly repetitive patterns, and even intentionally wrote parts that would sound like the musicians were playing wrong notes.
Artworks Made From Trash
Ann P. Smith
This awesome owl and bird sculpture was made from reclaimed electronic trash. It reminds me of the mechanical owl in The Clash of the Titans.
This ram looks like anything but trash. Each piece fits perfectly.
These delicate birds and other sculptures by Ann can be bought at her store online.
Got a few thousand CDs lying around? Have a seat.
Lamponi make some really cool lamps from trash. This one was an old steam iron.
An old ice scoop makes a good lampshade.
This old school hair dryer lamp and others are actually available to purchase. Check out the site for more far out creations.
This three-legged beast is made from electronic garbage.
Computer circuit boards make up this work of art that almost looks like a burning man effigy.
It’s hard to believe that this intricate motorcycle was made from random bits of trash. Amazing!
This huge dragon was created using aluminum cans.
What a stunning sculpture. Notice the computer mouse teeth and the washing machine door eyes.
Sayaka uses reclaimed plastic material to build her wonderful sculptures. Look closely at these two and you can see plastic spoons.
Another great creation made from common plastic trash.
This dog sculpture has a great pose. How many plastic spoons do you see?
This awesome piece was made from old soda cans and a hiking backpack frame. Great concept.
This whimsical butterfly spiral was also made from old soda cans.
This huge Gorilla was made from old coat hangers.
Another coat hanger sculpture from David. The protruding hangers make the sculpture almost look kind of blurry. Nice effect.
Robert Bradford uses discarded toys to bring his ideas to life. How many of these toys did you play with as a kid?
These sculptures have a nostalgic quality to them that takes you back to more innocent days.
The artist obviously has a great understanding of the human form. Notice the old typewriter pieces on the lower abdomen.
Actually, both of these pieces from Jeremy were made from old typewriters. Notice the cat’s eyes. Check out his site for more of his awesome work.
Michael Jackson released from the tape. I love the super clean lines and the curly hair.
This polar bear is made out of used grocery store bags. Is plastic OK?
This skull was crafted from old baseball coverings.
That’s the fossil remains of some ancient dinosaur, it’s plastic chairs.
This walk-though sculpture was created from old plastic storage bins. Notice hoe the negative space is in the shape of a person.
Scrap metal was used to construct this sea horse looking sculpture.
This fantastic mosquito was once just ordinary trash. Now it’s a beautifull work of art.
Christian uses crayons as pixels to produce captivating images.
This stunning image almost looks like an old (blurry) photo.
Got some old ball point pens lying around? Make a cool lamp out of them.
Brian Marshall creates wonderful bots that are full of personality from discarded materials.
This little guy is ready for battle with his pencil sharpener shield.
I just love this one. Check out the old camera and oil can.
Bernard Pras takes trash art to a whole other level. Absolutely stunning rendition of Bruce Lee.
This geisha looks fantastic! Notice the little face to the left of her eye.
Albert Einstein never looked so cool. I love the colors and shapes in this masterpiece.
Take a look at some of the great Hispanic artists that have shaped Western art and culture.
Diego Velázquez (1599 – 1660)
“The Rokeby Venus” by Diego Velázquez. c.1644 – 1648. (Photo: Public domain via WikiArt)
Born in Seville, Diego Velázquez had a wildly successful career that made him the leading artist of what's known as the Spanish Golden Age. Much of his artistic output is tied up with his role as court painter for King Philip IV, a position he held for nearly 40 years. His individualistic style stood apart from other Baroque painters and his loose brushstrokes would go on to influence both Realist and Impressionist painters. Great masters like Picasso, Dali, and Francis Bacon all paid homage to Velázquez by recreating some of his most famous artworks like Las Meninas.
Francisco Goya (1746 – 1828)
“The Third of May 1808 (Execution of the Defenders of Madrid)” by Francisco Goya. 1814. (Photo: Public domain via WikiArt)
One of the most influential painters of the 18th century, Francisco Goya enjoyed enormous success during his lifetime. His work is often associated with the Romantic movement and he is considered one of the last great Old Masters. One of Goya's most famous paintings, The Third of May 1808 (Execution of the Defenders of Madrid), is a politically charged masterpiece that honors the Spanish resistance during the country's occupation by Napoleon. This groundbreaking work set a new precedent for how the horrors of war were depicted in art.
José Clemente Orozco (1883 – 1949)
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, leader of the Mexican War of Independence by José Clemente Orozco. Detail of mural at Jalisco Governmental Palace in Guadalajara, Mexico. 1949. (Photo: Stock Photos from posztosE/Shutterstock)
Mexican caricaturist and painter José Clemente Orozco helped usher in an important era of Mexican muralism that encouraged unity in the country after the Mexican Revolution. Many of his murals, which often speak to the plight of peasants and workers, are still visible throughout the country. His powerful artwork can often be macabre and tinged with anger at the social injustices happening in Mexico. Many of his best murals are found in Guadalajara. His 57 frescoes at the city's Instituto Cultural Cabañas were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954)
With her deeply personal and symbolic work, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo has become one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. For much of her career, she was often overlooked as simply the wife of Diego Rivera, but the appreciation of her paintings has only grown from the 1970s onward. Fiercely proud of her Mexican identity, she often incorporated pre-Colombian symbols in her paintings and is known for her colorful Mexican dress. Kahlo, who suffered health issues throughout her life due to a bus accident in her youth, saw her flourishing career cut short due to her untimely death at 47. Her legacy continues to live on and she remains an icon of many feminist and political movements.
Diego Rivera (1886 – 1957)
“The History of Mexico” by Diego Rivera. 1929-1935. (Photo: Stock Photos from Florian Augustin/Shutterstock)
Along with José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera was considered one of “the big three” painters of the Mexican mural movement. Rivera's frescos established Mexican art on an international level as he helped forge a national identity based on Mexicanidad. This pride in the Mexican identity is visible in Rivera's art through his bold color palette and use of simplified shapes influenced by Mayan and Aztec art. While some of his most well-known works are in Mexico City, Rivera also painted extensively in the United States. His mural Man at the Crossroads, was famously removed from Rockefeller Center in New York due to an image of Lenin in the work.
Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)
“Les Demoiselles d'Avignon” by Pablo Picasso. 1907. (Photo: Public domain via Wikipedia)
It's impossible to create a list of influential Hispanic painters without including Pablo Picasso. As an artist who changed the face of modern art, his contributions to Western culture are undeniable. Whether we look at his groundbreaking Cubist works or study the incredible development of his style through different, distinct periods, there is so much to say about the Spanish painter. He was a child prodigy who first mastered classical techniques before breaking out on his own to shatter the traditional way of creating art. His oeuvre is impressive, as he produced an estimated 50,000 artworks during his lifetime between paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings, and prints.
Joan Miró (1893 – 1983)
Catalan artist Joan Miró was an unstoppable force in the art world, enjoying success throughout his life. His early paintings are grouped with the Surrealist movement and rely on automatism&mdashwhen the unconscious mind is allowed to take control of the painting. A true multi-media artist, Miró often took breaks from painting to focus on sculpture, ceramics, set design, and printmaking. His work was highly influential for many modern artists, with his abstraction influencing later generations like the Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock. Keen to help young artists, in 1975 he established the Joan Miró Foundation and Center of Contemporary Art Studies in his native Barcelona.
Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988)
Though he lived to just age 27, American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat made an indelible mark on the art world. Of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent, Basquiat first made a name for himself when the graffiti tag SAMO appeared across New York City in the late 1970s. Basquiat was one of the first graffiti artists from the underground scene to transition to the fine art market, with his neo-expressionist paintings being exhibited around the world. His art is filled with commentaries on social injustices and class struggles, often in relation to the black community. In 2017, he set a record for an American artist at auction when his 1982 painting of a black skull with red and black rivulets sold for $110.5 million.
Salvador Dalí (1904 – 1989)
With a career that spanned more than six decades, Salvador Dalí is one of the most influential artists in modern art. Famous for his surreal paintings like The Persistence of Memory, Dalí was also a prolific sculptor, filmmaker, photographer, and illustrator. He even created a cookbook based on the legendary dinner parties he and his wife Gala would throw. With an eclectic, eccentric personality that matched his artistic output, he continues to capture the public imagination 30 years after his death.
Fernando Botero (1932 – )
Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero is known for his unique, signature style. Known as Boterism, this style features paintings and sculptures of figures with curvy, exaggerated proportions. As one of the most recognized artists from Latin America, Botero is deeply influenced by his roots. His use of strong outlines and flat, vibrant color is a nod to Latin American folk art. More recently, his work has concentrated on political themes. His 2005 series Abu Ghraib, which is based on reports of American military abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq War, garnered international attention when exhibited.
Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.
Ready-made, everyday object selected and designated as art the name was coined by the French artist Marcel Duchamp.
Duchamp created the first ready-made, Bicycle Wheel (1913), which consisted of a wheel mounted on a stool, as a protest against the excessive importance attached to works of art. This work was technically a “ready-made assisted,” because the artist intervened by combining two objects. Duchamp subsequently made “pure ready-mades,” each of which consisted of a single item, such as Bottle Rack (1914), and the best-known ready-made, the porcelain urinal entitled Fountain (1917). By selecting mass-produced, commonplace objects, Duchamp attempted to destroy the notion of the uniqueness of the art object. The result was a new, controversial definition of art as an intellectual rather than a material process.
Duchamp and his ready-mades were embraced by the artists who formed the nihilistic Dada movement from 1916 to the 1920s Duchamp became Dada’s main proponent in the United States. The ready-made continued to be an influential concept in Western art for much of the 20th century. It provided a major basis for the Pop art movement of the 1950s and ’60s, which took as its subject matter commonplace objects from popular culture. The intellectual emphasis of ready-mades also influenced the conceptual art movement that emerged in the 1960s, which considers the artist’s idea more important than the final product.
This article was most recently revised and updated by Naomi Blumberg, Assistant Editor.
Don’t Feel Sorry for David Mills
Inside a booth at Red Lobster in downtown Huntington, David Mills is looking around for a waitress who used to be a stripper. One thing he will say for the Huntington area is there are some pretty good strip joints. People come from Charleston and all over. Every couple of months Mills goes to either Lady Godiva’s or Southern X-Posure, where the strippers are fully nude onstage and give wonderful private lap dances.
“The only problem I have is there are a lot of fat strippers and they have tattoos,” he says. “I mean, that just doesn’t do it for me, though usually in an evening they’ll have one or two that look really good and kind of classy-looking.”
He says he isn’t drinking tonight. Gets too carried away. Usually he will buy one 22-ounce bottle. “And that’s all I have. But if I have like a 12-pack, I drink until I throw up, so I rarely drink.”
Was he being serious about his offer to wash Taffy so I could test her out? “Yeah—I mean, that’s fine with me,” he replies. “That’s perfectly fine. There is absolutely no possibility of catching anything at all. You can do it now or later when you come back. I was not kidding.”
The only downside to Taffy is her weight, but “you can’t demand a life-size doll that looks and feels exactly like a woman and expect the doll to weigh 10 pounds and throw it over your shoulder.” Another issue is that dolls assume the ambient temperature. He is very interested to learn that McMullen is finalizing a design for a remote-control internal heating system so his customers won’t have to use an electric blanket.
David doesn’t sleep with Taffy. She stays on her tripod. What does he think of the term “love doll”? “That’s perverse, man,” he says, laughing. “You people from the big city disgust me.” The waitress brings the check and soon we are in the park by the Ohio River.
Top 10 Most Famous Photographers of All Time
If you want to take truly memorable and moving photographs, you can learn something by studying the pictures of famous photographers. Some of the most beloved artists are deceased, but some are still delighting us with their photographs. The list below includes some of the more famous photographers that still impact our lives today.
1. Ansel Adams is probably the most easily recognized name of any photographer. His landscapes are stunning he achieved an unparalleled level of contrast using creative darkroom work. You can improve your own photos by reading Adams’ own thoughts as he grew older, when he wished that he had kept himself strong enough physically to continue his work.
2. Yousuf Karsh has taken photographs that tell a story, and that are more easily understood than many others. Each of his portraits tells you all about the subject. He felt as though there was a secret hidden behind each woman and man. Whether he captures a gleaming eye or a gesture done totally unconsciously, these are times when humans temporarily lose their masks. Karsh’s portraits communicate with people.
3. Robert Capa has taken many famous war-time photographs. He has covered five wars, even though the name “Robert Capa” was only the name placed to the photos that Endre Friedman took and that were marketed under the “Robert Capa” name. Friedman felt that if you were not close enough to the subject, then you wouldn’t get a good photograph. He was often in the trenches with soldiers when he took photographs, while most other war photographers took photos from a safe distance.
4. Henri Cartier-Bresson has a style that makes him a natural on any top ten photographer list. His style has undoubtedly influenced photography as much as anyone else’s. He was among the first to use 35mm film, and he usually shot in black and white. We are not graced by more of his work, since he gave up the craft about 30 years before he passed away. It’s sad that there are fewer photographs by Cartier-Bresson to enjoy.
5. Dorothea Lange took photographs during the Great Depression. She took the famous photo of a migrant mother, which is said to be one of the best-known photographs in history. In the 1940s, she also photographed the Japanese internment camps, and these photographs show sad moments in American history.
6. Jerry Uelsman created unique images with composite photographs. Being very talented in the darkroom, he used this skill in his composites. He never used digital cameras, since he felt that his creative process was more suited to the darkroom.
7. Annie Leibovitz does fine photographic portraits and is most well known for her work with Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone magazine. Her photographs are intimate, and describe the subject. She’s unafraid of falling in love with the people she photographed.
8. Brassaï is the pseudonym for Gyula Halasz, and he was well known for his photographs of ordinary people. He was proof that you don’t have to travel far to find interesting subjects. He used ordinary people for his subjects, and his photos are still captivating.
9. Brian Duffy was a British photographer who shot fashion in the 1960s and 70s. He lost his photographic interest at one time and burned many negatives, but then he began taking photos again a year before he died.
10. Jay Maisel is a famous modern photographer. His photos are simple he doesn’t use complex lighting or fancy cameras. He often only takes one lens on photo outings, and he enjoys taking photos of shapes and lights that he finds interesting.
Of course there are other famous photographers that may be a part of your top 10 list. There is much to be learned in the art and craft of photography and from those who inspire us most.
About the Author:
Morris Pawtucket (famousphotographers125 dot com) writes about the famous photographers throughout history who have changed the way we see.
Like This Article?
Don't Miss The Next One!
Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:
112 responses to “Top 10 Most Famous Photographers of All Time”
What exactly is the point of this list? 10 photographer’s names I can remember at moment? Should any of them feel grateful that the author decided to to include them on the list?
What does it mean to be famous anyway? There are photographers who are famous but in no way they are artists or pioneers, on the other hand there are pioneers and artists who remain fairly unknown. Is “fame” really more important than anything else?
I consider compilations like that to be a waste of time.
I see where you’re coming from but I, being a student, found this list useful because I have to write a paper on a photographer. I couldn’t think of any so I just Google searched it and this came up. I don’t think it’s a waste of time. Granted the title is a little misleading, there are many other more famous photographers, but maybe they wanted to include different types of photography. Each of the artists listed have different styles.
@ Michal – yet you commented.
Dude, they why did you bother to read the damn article?!
“Q:Why do you keep hitting yourself over your head with a Hammer? A:Because it feels so good when I stop!”
It is so that you can search them further but at least find their names. They are famous because they made a difference. They are famous being they changed someone’s point of veiw, someone’s way of thinking. They don’t have to be artistic or unique. They just have to make a difference. And HELLO it’s called integrity. It doesn’t matter if they are noticed or not it matters that they did what they did.
Looks like someone’s found out the meaning of life.
Al primer comentario dejado por Michal. Si no le gustan las listas, cuando vea un artículo titulado “Los 10 mejores …” no lo lea y siga de largo, así deja sus malas vibras en otro lado…
I have to agree with Michal, what is the point? Besides the fact that literally half of them I have never heard of before, you left out a few who are at least as famous, if not more so.
I think a title, and concept, along the lines of Photographers Worth Checking Out” would be better.
Michael, you would agree with Michal.
Famous may be much less important than significant. Of important photographers, that is photographers who made important contributions at significant times, you would have to include Edward Weston and Paul Strand, both of who were mentors of Adams. Perhaps without them Adams work may not have been as ground breaking as it was. I absolutely agree about Adams and Karsh but would also have to add Eliot Porter, since he was a “ground breaker” in color photography. As for Brian Duffy and Jay Maisel, not so much.
Good point Nathan McCreery.
I would also include Eadweard Muybridge and Jacques Henri Lartigue.
I clicked on Ansel Adams which took me to Wikipedia. I didn’t know that he had an eidetic (photographic) memory.
What about Andreas Gursky, Jacques-Henri Lartigue and thousands of others.
I can appreciate the earlier comments but I feel you perhaps are missing the point. Famous or not, technically skilled or not, these photographers have made a significant impact on photography and its ever growing history. The photographers mentioned are “famous” in there own right, as are many less well known photographers. The “mentors” as were mentioned were actually more contemporaries of Ansel Adams, even collaborators.
Many other photographers can and should probably be added to this list, but then we wouldn’t be able to limit our list to only 10. Opinions are what makes the viewing of photographs so interesting. Seldom do two people share the same opinions, particularly as they relate to visual imagery. A photograph is meant to communicate. If it does that in any form it is considered to be effective, maybe even “famous”. Enjoy the photographers listed for what they accomplished. Create your own lists if you would like. Do not denigrate another’s opinion simply because it differs from yours. Variety and our abilities to interpret as we please make photography what it is, the single most communicative medium in the world. Even more so than the printed word, every sighted person can enjoy and understand a photograph. Lighten up guys, maybe someday someone will want to include you on their lists.
…”maybe someday someone will want to include you on their lists”. Could be, not likely though, given the huge number of photographers out there. Actually, I understood the point quite well. However, my point is that significant may be more to the issue than famous. I can name a number of people (not photographers, necessarily) who are famous because of our societies ridiculous obsession with celebrity, but very insignificant to everyone but themselves. My point is, that although some on the list my be well known, there are others who have had a larger impact on the history of photography and aren’t so well known. I guess the point is, everyone will have a different list depending on preference. However few could argue the importance of Adams or Karsh etc. Actually Adams and Edward Weston and Paul Strand were contemporaries, although they were much older than Adams. I said they were mentors. Perhaps strong influencers (not a word but should be) would be more accurate.
Aren’t top 10 list a great way to generate blog traffic?
Interesting list, but I’ve never heard of Brian Duffy… Ever heard of of Richard Avedon?
Tiberman – That’s interesting about Adams. However, I approach anything from Wikipedia with a grain of salt. I’m not sure how well it’s documented.
If you are tlking about to top 10 photo’s then howabout showing them.
I found it very helpful for my art homework. THANK YOU FOR THIS LIST!!
This is the dumbest list I have ever read. Useless!
Ansel Adams- the most famous photographer of all time! This has been a great help for my assignment.
Folks, Top 10 Lists are written from the perspective of the person writing / compiling the list and when there are billions of people on the planet, you can expect that many lists. Some convergent and some dramatically divergent. Are there other notable photographers who might be on such a list, the answer is a Yes. What we should understand is this list is this particular author’s list. Someone above mentioned they never heard of Brian Duffy. Possible. He was British and at one point in his career he decided to quit photography and burned his negatives, this from a person who shot for the leading European magazines in the 60’s and 70’s. If you have heard of David LaChapelle and Annie Liebovitz , then think of Brian Duffy as their forerunner in that arena. Don’t criticize an article because your favorites are not on it or because you don’t happen to know the people mentioned in the list. Read up about these photographers and see their online galleries and decide for yourself if you find their work interesting / impressive / inspiring. Slander is easy, but the writer did his own research and has reasons that appeal to him. Its that simple.
I don’t have anything at all against lists, particularly when it comes to making ones of artists to review their work for inspiration but I think Top 10 lists are really just loaded posts designed to create some traffic, like this one is doing. Given the highly subjective nature of art, these are, as someone has already said, just a perspective of one person. No problem having a list like this as long as those that are using them for school assignments and the like understand that this is not a definitive list and only a starting point. In looking through this particular list I can see at least one photographer that the only Top 10 list I would put them in would be “Most Overrated Photographer of All Time”, but that’s just my opinion. That being said, if blog posts are for the purpose of communicating information to your readers, which I personally think they should be, then I guess this list should be taken as a starting point for further research.
I live ijn an assisted health facility, so I can’t remember everything I’d like to. But that said, and I can’t remember the photographer’s entire name, his last name is “Rosenthal”, I believe his photograph of
“Raising the American on Iwo Jima, is really the iconic photography of WWII. It’s one I’ll never forget.
This is great information..thanks. )
Man, this website is great. These are really great
I found this useful as a model, i needed ideas for a photoshoot and could not think of any photographers! brilliant thank you!
Most of these have quality, but they also were from a time where only a bunch of guys in the world had cameras and the money to develop their works and as because they were only a few of course their images would have much more impact than now, when you have pictures jumping from everywhere, everysecond. Now, they wouldn’t make any difference, they would just be another photographer. They could never become famous in a world like ours today.
In my opinion fame is a matter of chance. A person becomes famous by his/her talent, but sometimes he or she does something really memorable. There are a lot of different talented, but still unknown people in all the spheres of life. Fame is a relative term, because today you can be famous, but tomorrow everybody would forget about you.
Anyway, I think there is a lack of imagies in this post to make it memorable and famous.
By the way, here is an awesome post about famous photographers that shares their photos and stories behind them: http://photodoto.com/25-famous-photographers-share-favorite-shots-stories-behind-them/ Feel free to check it out!
Why are you guys picking on the author so much? Give them a break. So they posted a top 10 lest. And so they included famous photographers. Get over it. Famous photographers are the people who shaped photography, and they deserve the title famous. They’re famous for a reason. No where in the article did it say, “If you’re not famous, you’re not good enough”. So calm down. I’m not famous, and I’m happy with my photography. It’s a list, and it’s meant to help you. It’s only a collection of names to look at, and the author’s trying to help us. It’s almost as if you guys want your name on the list or something.
Freedom of speech, freedom of expression.
Don’t like it, do this the way YOU want to do on your own blog.
Thx for the post. I enjoyed all 10.
If you take a photo that evokes a feeling to your self and others consider your self famous, all of these photographers have done that to me any way and I have learned so much by viewing there work that I can have my own style of taking photos. Never stop learning from the past greats achieve your own style and enjoy the art.
I’ve been learning about Dorothea Lange in my photography class :D
I want to be a photographer. Am going to Hudson valley to study photography for two years but I dont know where to go from there.
Your passion, talent and enthusiasm will determine the rest I guess.
Thanks for sharing this great list, i am a great fan of ” Brassai ” :-)
Great list. Ansel Adams is one of my all time favorites. I had forgotten about a few of these. Thanks for the reminder.
bob the builder is the best
kevin key has the best photos iv ever seen.
One thing’s for certain. Mr. Morris Pawtucket will never be on anyone’s most famous list. Nor even on anyone’s “must read” list.
What an absurd premise and even more absurd compilation.
I agree with with the comment above. Seems like an all American list.
Do you know a fantastic contemporary photographer, whos exhibitions are only in Las Vegas, Australia and somwhere else, I don’t remember. My friend and I ran into his exhibition in Las Vegas this summer. He makes very colourful, bright, large-sized photos of the Grand Canyon, deserts, whatever else. The exhibition was entitled like ‘The world of colour and passion’. And his photos are really expensive, about half million dollars or smth like this.
Does anyone knows anything about him? His name?
I’ll appreciate if someone could give a hint )
I agree with some comments and still find it interesting :^
Good Collection of Famous Photographer.
Good information, gives me a good feel in my tummy when I have a good look.
I don’t really know these photographers but YOLO .
Taiga, I think you are thinking of Peter Lik.
Great list. Ansel Adams is one of my all time favorites Photographer. I had forgotten about a few of these. Thanks for the reminder.
While I like the list (and agree on Strand and Weston) and could think of a few others I’d like to see on the list, I’m surprised at the exclusion of Alfred Stieglitz. Aside from being an accomplished photographer in his own right he certainly was instrumental in having photography recognized as a legitimate art form.
No Avedon, Arbus, Robert Frank, Walker Evans?
You might want to go for top 50 or 100..
I missed Helmut Newton in your list…..
Forgot weegee Photographer.
His darkroom was in the trunk of his car
All of the photographers are worthy of being listed among the top photographers of the ages I’m familiar with all with the exception of Duffy. But, I do agree that the title misses a point: the 10 best photographers of all time are always going to be one person’s (or even a committee’s) personal selection and a host of exceptional photographers get left off the list and are therefore automatically declared by default to be less than the 10 personally chosen. So, all the photographers (and many more not mentioned yet) listed by others in these responses are less than your 10? Baloney. Either adjust the title, as suggested by Michael, or go to the top 100 as suggested by Rocco. Even with Rocco’s suggestion, there will be many missed. As to those who’ve never heard of some or all of just these 10 notable photographers, perhaps you’re too young (too disinterested?). If you have a real interest in photography, you have some learning to do about the icons of photographic image making.
Besides showing an obvious American chauvinism a “Top Ten” list that arbitrarily includes a minor figure like Brian Duffy to represent fashion photography, while ignoring much more obvious candidates like Man Ray or Richard Avedon, relieves any and all of us from taking you seriously, Mr. Pawtucket. Richard Duffy is more significant than Man Ray? Are you new to this planet, Pawtucket?
Jerry Ueslmann didn’t use digital because it was not yet invented during his prime. To say that he did it for any other reason is misleading, and erroneous.
any one got any bettre photographers
Wow, what a bunch of haters with their knickers in a knot! These kinds of lists are always intended to be in good fun so lighten up. Good grief. Many of you need to get over yourself and take a smile break. Of course your favorite guy/lady may not have been on the list. Make your own, build a blog, find some readers if you can. I would have loved to see Ernst Haas, Edward Weston or Eliot Porter but it isn’t my list. In contemporary photographers John Sexton, Bruce Barnbaum, Jay Dusard and Don Kirby come to mind, as well as others. As to it being American chauvinism, that’s only logical since the development of the photographic process for the average person is a product of the United States for the most part It was George Eastman that popularized the process and made it available for the everyman. But it isn’t my list so kudos to the writer
This list is like trying to understand the ocean with one glass of water.
Oh my word people. This author is allowed to have his own opinion. Nobody said this was the DEFINITIVE list of the 10 most famous photographers. Grow up and do what others are saying on here – make your own list. See how well YOU do narrowing down all the talent in this world into 10 slots. You just try your best, and yes, it is subjective. Photography in general is pretty subjective. Things that one talented photographer think are the best ever may not even inspire another one. And stop judging photos by the skin color of the photographer.
I love photography and i love every photographer, how can i be a good photographer? is it possible for me?
i don’t know it’s possible or not but i will be wating……when the day come i don’t know!
A remarkable photographer should be above all an artist.. unfortunately some of the most famous photographers are only mid to good studio photographer who got fame by shooting celebrities.. miss Sebastiao Salgado on the list.. to me one of the top 5 for sure.. technically and for his meaningful work. I would recomend the documentary about his life “The Salt of the Earth”
“She’s unafraid of falling in love with the people she photographed.” LOL wtf that was so random.
Yousuf Karsh? #2 … of all time?
You forgot Alfred Stieglitz!
thank you for the good ideas thanks you, really helped me
I’m just getting into photography and I’m reading, learning all I can so that I can take good photos.
Haters for sure. Photography is art. Art is subjective bigtime… Every single person will definitely not have the same opinion and the comments here is proof of that. This doesn’t mean that the author favors Americans or he/she is racist. I don’t understand how people in this world get so damn butt hurt over the shit the fret over. You guys that mentioned particular photographers, someone could easily say the same exact things if you also made your own top ten list. Just remember – an opinion is like an asshole, everyone has one. -) So me personally (since I’ve informed everyone that every single person on this planet is entitled to their very own opinion, including me), I’d give kudos to the author simply for having to put up with people’s rude ass comments all day after making a list of people they think is worth a mention on their personal list. And also, evidently this article did actually help some people (if you bothered with reading some comments). Maybe not the oh so wonderful and obviously extremely educated photography students or photographers that think their opinion is the way it should be and that’s it, but it did seem to help some people with whatever type of homework they had for their class. I’m sure this article is a good starting off point for the people that can’t think of a photographer to do an essay about or whatever. If anybody can remember being an ordinary student (10 years for me but I sure as hell still remember….er, technically 14 but I don’t like to include the couple birthdays after 29 -)), when you have this or that assignment to complete, or whatever other tasks or errands you’ve got on your plate, having to think of a particular person on the spot can prove pretty damn difficult. Somebody could ask me who my favorite actor is and it would seriously take me a hot minute to think of one to tell them. This is kinda like when me and my boyfriend couldn’t think of a movie to watch, so we googled top ten movies of all time….which didn’t help us at all until we “refined” our searching, but this is not the point of where I’m going really lol… but the point is this article was useful to some people. And the other point (the main point I’ve been trying to make with this comment to begin with) is – don’t slam someone’s opinion just because it differs from your own. This is the internet. Look hard enough and you’ll find other “lists” with the same premise but I guarantee you it will not match up the same as this. It might have one or two of the same names but it won’t match up exact. I really don’t think the author’s intent was to offend anyone when they wrote it. Of course I could be wrong – the author could be an evil junkie who loves Bill Cosby, idolizes Catelyn (Kaitlin, Katie, whatever the name is now…) Jenner, has contracts with planned parenthood and whatever else people get butt hurt about nowadays (pretty much anything that exists – I’m sure after this comment, a lot more people will have mean shit to say for me…lol…bring it) but they still are entitled to have their own opinion. So try to be nice and stop getting so butt hurt about things that really do not affect you. That’s actually another thing to think about though– Really, can anyone here honestly say they’ve lost sleep over this article or their grades have slipped or anything along those lines that would affect one’s everyday life? Think of that before your mouth goes spouting off your intelligent philosophy of the person that didn’t mention “him” (gasp!) or even “her” (louder gasp!). And, just to be clear, I’m not trying to piss anyone off here (and I know there are probably tingling fingers that can’t wait to tell me off after reading this but hold on just for a little bit longer you pretentious asswipe you -)). Actually the opposite. I guess being a mother kinda urges me to protect those that can’t or won’t protect themselves. I feel like I’m telling a bully to back the f*** off. So there ya go. Everyone has their own opinion. Can’t wait to hear what yours is of me. I guess I’ll see who understands any sarcasm that may or may not be present on this comment if I even bother to stumble upon this particular page again. Live long and prosper. -)
Good list but this comes definitely down to personal taste i think. Even tough some of the protographers have a stunning carreer and story. Nevertheless a ist of photographers should contain at least one picture of each one -)
I’d agree with the previous comment. Not only I’d like to know who the top photographers are, but also a sample of their best work. It gives us inspiration and also teaches us something new. Either way, great job on keeping a list together. Thank you!
Don’t want to argue with all of your good choices, but would like to add a couple of Honorable Mentions for those unfamiliar with their work:
Then: W. Eugene Smith (got me hooked on what a camera could record)
Now: Dave McNally (taught me a lot about the meaning of light)
Fantastic list of important photographers. Although I wouldn’t have left out August Sander
Wow, reading some (not all) of the comments it makes me realise how precious some people are about themselves.
Great list and all of them pioneers worth mentioning. Nevertheless I personaly perfer a little more “modern” style when it comes to photographers I need as inpiration.
Photography is perhaps one of the simplest and most rewarding small businesses. This is because the demand for photographs is pretty huge. Add that to comparatively lower entry capital and low skills, and you end up with a highly lucrative venture.
This business is set to undergo several changes in the near future. In the conversations that follow, we are going to highlight and explain in details some of these future trends.
FUTURE OF PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS
Improved Photography Technology
This is perhaps the most significant aspect of the future of this photography business. Cameras, photo-editing software, display technologies, overall picture quality, and other co-operant factors are all set for massive future facelifts. This shall result in images of higher quality than most of those that are in existence as of now.
Closely related to the above is the fact that photographs shall be much easier to share than is the case at the moment. We are going to witness more online photo sharing platforms as well as other technologies that simplify the sharing of photos.
For this reason, stakeholders in the field of photography are going to spend less in sharing their photos. They are also going to confront limited hassles in the course of so doing.
Simplified Entry and Operations
Till now, many would-be photography entrepreneurs have found it difficult to enter the field of photography. This has been mainly occasioned by higher startup capital, greater camera acquisition costs, and higher skill requirements.
This trend is likely to reverse in the near future. More high-quality cameras are going to be availed at comparatively lower costs. These cameras are also going to be easier to use. For these reasons, more players shall enter the business than before.
Given that the field of photography is anticipated to witness a surge in the number of players, it follows that the industry is going to experience stiffer competition. The individual players are going to find it quite difficult to break even and stand out of the crowd. This subsequently means that each player will have to put in more effort to yield meaningful returns.
Closely tied to the simplified entry and operations explained above is the fact that the operational costs are going to reduce significantly. Less money is going to be spent in maintaining the systems and remunerating the workers and photographers. When taken in isolation, this shall mean a higher profit margin on the part of the players.
Owing to the expected influx of players in the field of photography, the amount of profit that each player is set to derive is similarly anticipated to reduce significantly. Because of this, small-scale photographers are going to find it difficult to stay afloat in the long run.
All factors considered, the field of photography is set to witness a radical improvement in the near future. Any serious entrepreneur who is keen on leveraging these benefits clearly has no choice but to consider venturing into the business.